Dishing Dirt on First Ladies
When researching The Mysterious Life of Jim Limber I read the journals and diaries of Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederacy. She was ostracized as well. She was accused of being a spy by the Southerners, and the newspapers berated her as a terrible mother for letting her children run wild in the White House of the Confederacy. She, like Mrs. Lincoln, was educated beyond the norm of the time. Mrs. Davis was an accomplished writer.
The very name Dolley Madison makes us think hostess. James Madison’s wife created the template for White House hospitality and state dinners. The press was not impressed with Mrs. Madison’s taste in clothes, her new hair style, or her new-fangled dessert served at the White House. Ice Cream? Whoever heard of such pomposity. The President would do well to keep her under control, the newspapers said.
The same newspapers that complained that Jackie Kennedy had her clothes made by a designer in New York, are the same papers that criticized Mrs. Obama for buying her dresses at J.C. Penney.
Dishing dirt on the First Ladies isn’t new and it’s not going away. The “true” press has abandoned truth and gone to sensationalism. They struggle to keep up with twitter that delivers the dirt every few seconds, and feeds facebook. Those seem to be the two main first sources of news used by TV and newspapers. Worse, is the unquenchable lust of the public to know all, and be the first to know, everything about the First Lady. Speak first, check facts second.
The media and America has never been kind to First Ladies and have been dishing up the dirt since Martha Washington. Lies and bad news travels fast. This week I see the media dishing up the dirt on a potential First Lady; they can’t wait to be first to start dishing up new dirt. (Or recycled dirt.)