The Blog

The World's Biggest Celebrity Gets Paparazzi-ed

4:50 PM, Dec 22, 2008 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Picture 3.png

It is an unfortunate consequence of the rise in celebrity gossip outlets confluent with the rise of a young, moderately attractive, liberal president, that we will be treated to pictures like this for the next four years. And, copy like this:

But from the looks of it, this isn't exactly the first time Barack has taken to work out. Wearing black shorts and sunglasses, the 44th President was sporting some serious abs as he caught some rays with his wife at an oceanfront estate in Kailua.

Of course, sometimes it will be hard to distinguish gossip-blog emoting over our new, sexy C-in-C from pool reports published in the Washington Post, as is the case today:

On Sunday, Obama awoke early for a 7:15 a.m. workout at a gymnasium at a sleepy Marine Corps base on the island of Oahu. Michelle Obama, carrying an iPod and headphones, joined her husband for the 45-minute exercise session, according to a media pool report. As they emerged from the gym, Obama, in a gray shirt soaked with sweat, lifted his right hand to give a quick salute to a couple uniformed Marines standing nearby.

Swoon. The Post refrains from swimsuit photos, opting for the more subtle golf-shirt cheesecake photo. Mysteriously absent from the mainstream coverage of Obama's various vacations and frequent workouts is the suggestion we've heard about Bush for eight years that staying in shape and being a responsible president are mutually exclusive. Odd.

After running into reporters and photographers a couple times during his round of golf- which is the kick-off of a 13-day Hawaiian vacation- Obama got predictably snippy with them, saying "Okay, guys, come on. How many shots do you need?"

He may be able to hold off the traditional press on everything from Blagojevich questions to golfing photos. They're not only ideologically inclined to help the guy out, but they operate by a set of decency standards that prohibits invading his family's privacy too brazenly. Paparazzi, whose aggressive exploits routinely contribute to car accidents, falling injuries, and flout the concept of privacy for public figures, will not be as easily contained. That's why they have photos of him apparently within the confines of his Kailua estate, which is supposed to be private.

Mainstream media, limping through the downturn in the economy, has had to turn at times to aggressive celebrity coverage to boost traffic and readership. The Associated Press' celebrity wire is Exhibit A in this trend, and outlets like the Huffington Post have illustrated that New Media outlets are not immune to the siren call of Britney Spears alerts, even when those outlets purport to be serious.

One wonders when the first pap will get cuffed for getting too close to the President in his quest to serve the celeb-obsessed among us. One also wonders if that photographer will be from US Weekly or Newsweek.