Can We Hear From David Brooks on Michelle’s Shorts?

Knowing that today is a Maureen Dowd Day in the New York Times, I was hoping to learn What David Brooks Thinks About Legs-Gate*. After all, it was in a Dowd column where we learned Brooks’s take on Arms-Gate*. While sharing a taxi with Dowd, according to a Dowd column back in March, Brooks said of Michelle Obama sometimes wearing clothing that does not cover her arms:

She’s made her point. Now she should put away Thunder and Lightning [her arms] [because] Washington is sensually avoidant.

Today’s Dowd column is headlined, “Lust, American Style,” but, alas, makes no mention of Michelle Obama’s latest uncovered limbs or David Brooks’s thoughts on —or pet names for— them., for its part, has run two pieces on Legs-Gate* in the past 24 hours. Yesterday:

Michelle Obama’s short shorts spark long talks

An article which Megan fact-checked on Twitter noting that “‘Short shorts’ are worn by Daisy Duke and gals in NAIR commercials. Not, here, by Michelle Obama.”

And, today:

First lady’s shorts draw some long, hard looks”

The subhed today is “Michelle Obama’s informal look in Arizona has some questioning her choice,” and the piece is actually a re-write of a (four-minute!) Today show segment which aired this morning (in which no named individual actually expressed true “disapproval” of the shorts, not even the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan who told Matt Lauer she’s “ambivalent” about them.)

But should you (David Brooks, or anyone) “disapprove” of Mrs. Obama’s shorts, more than one media outlet ( and the Palm Beach Post) is providing you an outlet to say so:

And, if you’re a reporter gearing up to write about the scandal that is Legs-Gate*, please, first have a look at those poll numbers (over 80 percent of people are fine with the shorts already). Also, pretending Mrs. Obama Wore Shorts; Some Disapprove is news (setting aside, even, that most of the folks taking “long looks” or having “long talks” about the shorts are in the media) is, as an appropriately embarrassed-looking Lauer confessed at the start of today’s Today segment, “a bit crazy.”

*Legs-Gate: Michelle Obama wore shorts while on vacation recently. Some in media are scandalized.

*Arms-Gate: Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress to the president’s address to Congress in March (not the first time she exposed her arms). Some in media are scandalized.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.