No First Lady since Jacqueline Kennedy has caught the American imagination so quickly that, after only six weeks, there are early signs of media backlash.
In his Los Angeles Times blog today, Andrew Malcolm reports on the First Lady's stint serving food at a DC soup kitchen for the homeless but raises a question about the photo op that shows a man on line taking her picture with a cellphone:
"If this unidentified meal recipient is too poor to buy his own food, how does he afford a cellphone? And if he is homeless, where do they send the cellphone bills?"
This mild debunking of Mrs. Obama's activities pales in comparison to a British snit over this week's White House visit of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. A London Times columnist complains that, while Mrs. Brown brought thoughtful gifts for the Obama girls, the First Lady presented the Brown boys with "dismissive" models of Marine One (“Mum and Dad went to see the President, and all we got was this lousy plastic helicopter”).
Worse yet, a Telegraph columnist rails at Mrs. Obama under the headline, " Was 'Lady Macbeth' behind Barack Obama's snub of Gordon Brown?", making the loony case that the First Lady still resents the British for their part in the slave trade.
Fleet Street bilge aside, the American public still seems fascinated and affectionate. Even CNN's resident curmudgeon Jack Cafferty admits, "I think I am developing a crush on America's First Lady...
"Watch her when she visits a local school and you see the warmth and affection she instantly triggers in people. Kids are pretty much totally honest with very good BS-detectors. If they sense you're a phony, forget it. But around the First Lady, they want to hug her and laugh with her and tell her stories."
Even so, in the voracious 24/7 appetite for news, the kind of super-celebrity Mrs. Obama is becoming will inevitably draw her share of sniping from media mongers who can't think of anything else to say...and perhaps comments like this from bloggers in the same situation.