So, yesterday there was a story that quickly made its way through the Internets that Malia Obama was in Mexico with a group of friends and 25 Secret Service agents.
Little else was reported on the trip, however. Later in the day, all mention of the trip began disappearing from the web. Politico reported last night:
The AFP, the Huffington Post and other websites have scrubbed a report about first daughter Malia Obama’s Spring Break vacation.
On Monday, the AFP reported that Obama’s daughter was vacationing abroad, along with a number of friends and 25 Secret Service agents. The story was picked up by Yahoo, the Huffington Post, and the International Business Times, as well as UK publications like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph and other overseas publications like The Australian.
But on Monday night, the story had been removed from those sites .The AFP page for the story now links to a story titled “Senegal music star Youssou Ndour hits campaign trail,” as does the Yahoo page. The Huffington Post page now links directly back to the Huffington Post homepage. The Daily Mail, Telegraph, and Australian stories now lead to 404 error pages, reading “page not found.” The International Business Times story also links to the IBT homepage, though a version of the original story still exists here.
** Parts of the Telegraph snippet have been redacted/reworded to eliminate references to exact locations. While the story itself is notable, the locations and places are not, and can serve to put national interests in danger. While we object to the use of taxpayer dollars, at this time, in this manner, the safety of Malia Obama is incredibly important. **
Spring Break is a right of passage for any teenage girl, though most of them usually wait until they’ve been able to practice binge drinking for several years before attempting to do it in a foreign country where the possibility of being kidnapped by drug dealers is high. Obviously most parents either aren’t fully aware of the consequences of allowing their daughters to bring a suitcase full of string bikinis and enough funnels for a fraternity beer bong festival, or they understand they’re powerless to stop it, which is why, even in the era of cell phone cameras, this tradition has continued.
This sounds more like a class trip than the boozey trip NakedDC suggested, which makes it understandable why Malia would be on the trip. And unlike what NakedDC wrote, and others, I really don’t care about the taxpayer cost to keep Malia safe. Just like I didn’t care about the taxpayer cost to keep the Bush twins safe, etc.
But what doesn’t make sense is that if the White House is really concerned about Malia and the safety of her friends, she never should have gone on the trip in the first place. I really don’t know if this scrubbing of stories was out of safety for Malia or out of a desire to protect her from media coverage in general. And if it’s the later — which I suspect — is it really to protect Malia’s privacy or is it a desire to keep stories about the cost of the trip out of the news?
If a few stories and pictures puts Malia in danger, than she never should have gone in the first place. If the White House wants to keep her out of the public eye, that’s OK, but don’t cite security concerns as the reason.
And of note: Having a member of the Obama family travel to Mexico is a huge public relations bonanza for Mexico in light of all the bad publicity surrounding the country and its drug war. Did the Obama’s really think they’d be able to keep such a trip quiet?