News Comment 2

This week Hurricane Harvey is dominating the headlines. As devastating as the storm is that is understandable. Among all of the reporting on the effects of the storm we got one story that probably wouldn’t mean much on a normal day but in this circumstance it was very important. Melania Trump’s shoes. When boarding Air Force One to head to Texas to be briefed on devastation caused by the storm, the First Lady wore some very uncomfortable looking black stiletto heels. Manolo Blahniks to be exact. As Venessa Friedman of the New York Times reports when Mrs. Trump disembarked the plane in Texas she had changed into a less showy outfit wearing white sneakers. It’s reported that her communications director told her of the backlash her shoes had caused and suggested she change. This story is a prime example of how the role of a President and a First Lady has changed in this world where news stories can be accessed immediately. Also it shows, as Friedman says, that every detail is important and will be analyzed in this media savvy society. Twitter BLEW UP with the news of Melania Trump’s shoes on both sides of the issue. The left was, understandably, critical of the choice while the right went off on “fake news” even caring about the shoes in the first place. Personally I think the First Lady was incredibly stupid to wear such crazy heels to the sight of a natural disaster. As Friedman points out, the Trumps are in a position that is subject to extreme scrutiny on every little detail; therefore you should think of anything the public could make an issue. I can see the side of the issue that says “this isn’t newsworthy” and agree to an extent however I believe this is perfectly suited for the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. They targeted the story to those who care about fashion, while still being aware that due to the subject of the piece anyone else could read this. The writer didn’t use too much fashion specific language so anyone could understand it. There is a hint of a bias against the First Family (which doesn’t bother me at all) but would make this considered a more opinion piece than a straight news story. That is not at all uncommon on a style based section of news because their main job is to critique clothing and tell people what their clothing says about them.

1 Comment so far

  1.   fuglsang on September 4th, 2017

    Nicely done, Joey. A good discussion of newsworthiness and audience. The best story on this subject was from Salon: Fox News suddenly cares about how the media treats the first lady’s attire.

    For years the network ignored attacks on Michelle Obama. Now, all of a sudden it cares.

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