While for some, a photo of Michelle Obama shopping at Target is just that, for others it’s a calculated campaign-ready photo op, engineered to convince the masses that the First Lady is just like us, no matter how many thousands of dollars of borrowed diamonds she wears.
RELATED: Michelle Obama Likes To Be ‘Comfortable & Pretty’, Used To Shop At Target
According to the Washington Post, conservative commenters are accusing the White House of staging the image.
“First Lady Michelle Obama shopping at Target with an AP photographer in tow . . . . planned? I think so,” tweeted Fox News and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity.
“One wonders if First Lady Michelle Obama truly thought she could pass for an ‘everywoman’ as she shopped” at Target, sniffed the Blaze, a Web site launched last year by radio host Glenn Beck.
Rush Limbaugh called it “What a phony-baloney plastic banana good-time rock-and-roller optic photo op.”
While we were less concerned with the image implications of the photo, we had a similar debate in the Styleite offices last week. We just thought it was interesting that she’d never been photographed shopping in a Target before and wondered if perhaps the White House had tipped off a photog — not that the entire outing had been staged. The AP photographer lucky enough to snap the pic isn’t commenting, but the Assistant Chief of Bureau for Photos at the AP wrote a short blog post about it on his Tumblr (yes, really) last week:
First Lady Michelle Obama has said in the past she likes to go shopping incognito. AP photographer Charles Dharapak captured her doing just that in a suburban Washington retailer today wearing sunglasses and a ball cap. Charlie made this frame with his Canon 1D Mark IV and a 24-105mm lens. His exposure was 1/200 @4.5 rated 2500iso.
Sadly, that doesn’t give us much to go on. The AP’s public press statement is equally unforthcoming, offering only, “All I can say is that it was the result of good source work on his part.”
The Washington Post also points out that “corporate chains such as Target prohibit news photography on company-owned premises without prior permission”, though that doesn’t mean much other than the photographer may have been granted permission from Target — which, duh. What retailer would turn down that sort of publicity?
All said, something tells us that Michelle Obama wouldn’t be interested in putting on a disguise and shlepping out for a Target run if she didn’t actually want to go to Target. And while her European vacations and borrowed diamonds may have convinced some that she’s a high-falutin’ fancy pants, her well-documented tendency to wear H&M and previously proclaimed love for Target has us wondering what all the fuss is about.
Michelle Obama’s Target trip: Critics take aim [Washington Post]
Attention Shoppers! [Paid To See]
Michelle Obama Criticized For Target Shopping Trip [Jezebel]