Media playing footsie with first lady's shoes
Leave it to the modern media to create a Trump mountain out of a molehill. They focus on how quickly, or slowly, President Trump denounced KKK protesters and neo-Nazis – and whether he was sincere enough. This while ISIS soldiers mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona. The media also pontificate over whether Trump's visit to hurricane-devastated Houston was too early. Or too late. Those are the only two options.
Despite his visit to Houston this week, it is unlikely that any major media outlet will praise President Trump's visit, either in timing or in tone. Instead, they will find something trivial and nonsensical to fill their pages and broadcasts.
Case in point was First Lady Melania Trump's footwear for the first couple's trip to Houston on Tuesday. The Daily Mail had a big story on the Texas trip, telling readers, "She also wore a pair of four-inch Manolo Bhahnik heels," whatever those are. To me they look like high heels, which she wore leaving the White House. She then changed into "bright white sneakers" before deplaning in Houston.
That must be the important news of a presidential visit to a major U.S. city stricken by disaster: heels and sneakers...and "shoe-shaming" a woman. This looks like blatant sexism and misogyny from the tolerant and sensitive left. If the president were feeling gender confused and wore the high heels instead, would that have been more acceptable to the media?
The Twitter toilet reacted predictably and swiftly, demonstrating that idiocy can easily be demonstrated in 140 characters or less. The Daily Beast couldn't even offer any reasonable criticism, saying, "They were dressed like they were spending a day at the golf course." Really? Four-inch heels on the golf course? The Daily Beast may not realize that spiked golf shoes have been banned from most golf courses for many years – meaning six-millimeter spikes. So would four-inch heels really be "dressing for the golf course," other than to aerate the fairways?
Politico joined the chorus line with a headline, "Melania's stiletto sideshow." Not to be outdone, the New York Times chimed in with "Melania Trump, off to Texas, finds herself on thin heels." Vogue's headline: "Melania Trump's hurricane stilettos, and the White House's continual failure to understand optics." How about the optics of a major magazine behaving like Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls?
Here is the reaction from the White House: "It's sad that we have an active and ongoing natural disaster in Texas, and people are worried about her shoes."
Time to play compare and contrast. Remember when First Lady Michelle Obama wore $540 Lanvin sneakers while visiting a food bank? It was another "whatever those are" moment for me regarding her brand of footwear – I thought Air Jordans were expensive, but Mrs. Obama's kicks are priced not in Jordan air, but in rarefied air.
Any outrage? Or Twitter tirades? People magazine gushed, "Michelle Obama steps out in Lanvin sneakers." No snarky tweets about how many meals Mrs. Obama's sneakers could pay for.
In the Trump-hating world of the media, where the president and his family cannot do anything right, Melania Trump's shoes were the big story. I'm sure the people of Houston, washed out of their homes and lives, are more concerned with the first lady's choice of footwear than the fact that Houston is underwater, drowning in over 50 inches of rain with the peak still days away.
Like a gaggle of snooty schoolgirls, the media continue to demonstrate their irrelevance bypassing the serious and focusing only on the silly.
Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.