Reporters On Michelle Obama? “Rapt.” (Really?)

For Radar’s September issue (excerpt online), Ana Marie Cox explains how “the press corps” really feels about Michelle Obama:

Michelle seems to have intrigued the press corps as much as her husband has, albeit in a less obvious way. She is treated like a combination of a misbehaving movie star and a lottery winner: exceptionally stylish, slightly annoying, and obviously lucky. She is both the celebrity on Oprah’s couch and the lady in the audience going home with a brand new car. We are rapt.

“Celebrity,” you say? Isn’t that this election’s c-word?

Cox writes that Michelle Obama is “very private, very busy, and very disciplined. She doesn’t give many interviews,” which sets readers up for the let-down a few paragraphs later that Cox also didn’t get an interview with Michelle Obama for her Michelle Obama cover story.

And so the stacks of profiles and puff pieces about the striking would-be first lady have to make do with scraps of information about her diet, her health, and her favorite things, wrapping up the Michelle paradox in the comforting costume of celebrity.

So as a service we gathered and parsed the available information (and diligently footnoted our sources) to answer all the questions you may have about Michelle, but might be a little, you know, too scared to ask.

Cox writes that “Washington logic has it that the press punishes political figures who don’t grant access.” Does Cox “punish” Obama? I guess you’re supposed to buy the magazine to find out.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.