Matthew Boyle, a "reporter" at Breitbart.com, just yesterday penned an exclusive piece in which he abandons journalistic conventions as well as common decency by revealing the location of Sasha and Malia Obama's spring break. The first sentence of his article reads: "A source tipped Breitbart News off to the First Daughters' spring vacation, which was not publicly announced or reported."
As the article progresses, it becomes clear that the "source" is actually Twitter, where a small handful of users who happened to be staying at the same hotel as the Obama daughters were tweeting about their sightings. In one of the tweets, a young woman expresses excitement to be in the same "nightclub for teenagers" as Obama's daughters.
The reason, of course, that the location was not publicly announced or reported is because doing so violates the privacy and compromises the security of two minors. As The Washington Post's Paul Farhi wrote last March, writing about the mundane activities of Obama's children violates an "unwritten rule" between journalists and the White House that is not at all unique to this particular administration. In the words of Kristina Schake, the spokeswoman for first lady Michelle Obama:
From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.
The crux of
Boyle's argument is somewhat conspiratorial:
Sasha and Malia both attend Sidwell Friends School, which is currently on its spring break. That break continues through Friday. It is unclear how long the first daughters will be staying... or what the cost will be to taxpayers.
Earlier this month, the White House canceled public tours as a result of the recent budget sequester, citing Secret Service staffing costs.
For shame, Sasha and Malia! Relaxing in the sun by day, doing whatever it is that you do in a nightclub for teenagers by night, while thousands of patriotic Americans who headed to the White House for spring break, buoyed up by the prospect of taking a public tour of the building instead of having actual fun, languish on the street like animals. It's especially ghastly because the Obamas are the only presidential family in history to have ever enjoyed a vacation.
As Joan Walsh points out at Salon, this narrative is totally overblown and ridiculous, as Sasha and Malia are doing "exactly the same kinds of things other presidents' families have done throughout history." Furthermore, if Obama keeps taking vacations at his current rate, he will have taken less time off than Clinton, Reagan, and George W. Bush. George W. Bush, in fact, has possibly taken the most vacation days of any president.