Background: it’s more or less just coming out now that in October of 2009 the White House hosted an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed party put on by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp – which was, to quote Jodi Kantor, author of a new tell-all book (The Obamas), deliberately not publicized: “White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged…”
More here, here, and here. To get this out of the way… yes, the White House was correct: it would have looked bad if it had come out at the time. It looks a good bit worse now – frankly, hiding this was stupid. As is the flailing about trying to pretend that this was never a big deal in the first place; which it might not have been, if they had just admitted that the Obamas had a couple of Hollywood people over to throw them a themed Halloween party. Then again, obviously the White House knew that this was a bad idea from the start, which is why they felt the need to cover it up.
But, you know? I’m not all that angry at the White House for this. I was already aware that they’re collectively a bunch of sullen teenagers over there with no sense of other people’s property and a raging case of entitlement issues. No, what bugs me is that the media let them get away with it. Yes, publishing a story on this would have sparked a certain amount of justified outrage. So what? Contrary to popular belief – and, alas, popular usage – it’s not the media’s job to keep the population from being outraged. It’s the media’s job to tell us what the heck is going on. A lot of the White House press pool acted unprofessionally, here.
PS: I don’t even want people fired; I just want them to admit that they screwed up. Which they did. And I want them to do better in the future. Which they have no history of doing. And that’s why half the country doesn’t trust the media.