It’s apparently not enough for Obama to be surrounded two daughters, a wife and a mother-in-law at home, have Hilary Clinton as his Secretary of State or appoint Sonia Sotomayor as Supreme Court Justice. No, he must play golf with them as well.

Yesterday the front page of the Sunday NY Times led with an article dissecting the Obama administration “boys club”, where “some high-profile sectors of the White House — economics and national security, for instance — are filled with men and exude an unmistakable male vibe”. It complained that ladies weren’t allowed to join in and shoot hoops at a famed presidential b-ball game. Plus, no women have played golf with Obama since he became president, but that a senior White House aide, Melody Barnes, was due to play this weekend.

Now whether it was the NY Times article that prompted the tokenism or not, Barnes teed off with the president in surely the most widely reported act of presidential social togetherness since the beer summit.

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Journalist Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times deemed it worthy of three separate pool reports, almost like a live-blog of the golf game. It lead with the wonderful headline ‘Obama golfs with Melody Barnes, first female in presidential foursome’:

“It’s a crisp, beautiful fall day with the leaves changing colors along the drive from Washington to the base, in Virginia. Obama was observed walking out of the White House at 12:18 p.m. wearing a black short sleeve shirt. Barnes was wearing a baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and beige pants. Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director, was seen loading golf clubs.”

The NY Times reported that “Melody C. Barnes, a White House aide, broke through President Obama’s green ceiling Sunday afternoon”.

“Another crack in the gender glass ceiling” said the LA Times, with their article entitled ‘A first! President Obama actually golfs with a woman!’

As Politico noted, “Who says newspapers don’t have any influence anymore?” Now if only that influence was used for focusing on issues that actually matter.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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