Malia Obama in the Rose Garden

Photo via Obama White House/Flickr (Public Domain) Remix by Jason Reed

No one cares if Malia Obama can blow smoke rings or not

Let Malia live.


Tess Cagle


Posted on Nov 24, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:07 am CDT

As reports came in Friday morning about Egypt’s most deadly terrorist attack, the internet was too busy watching Malia Obama blow smoke rings to pay much attention.

For some time on Twitter, news about the 19-year-old trended higher than the horrifying attacks in Egypt and is still the top trending Google searchThe former first daughter’s social activities at Harvard went viral yet again after fringe and partisan publications like the Daily Caller published a leaked Snapchat video of her blowing smoke rings. The video surfaced after publications such as TMZ and the Telegraph scrutinized the 19-year-old for kissing a boy and smoking at a tailgate for the Harvard-Yale game on Monday.

As the press continues to become more and more interested in exposing Obama’s private life, supporters of the teenager have expressed distaste for the sensational probing of her personal choices.

After all, kissing a boy at a tailgate is an incredibly regular pastime for a lot of college students. And since 36.5 million people smoke in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama’s decision to have a cigarette is not all that novel either.

While the former president’s daughter should obviously expect interest from the press, the coverage of her enjoying typical rites of passage come off as intrusive and inappropriate. Especially now that she’s a private citizen. (Disclosure: The Daily Dot can also be implicated in this practice, having covered her backstage, possibly inebriated dancing this summer at a music festival.)

The Telegraph’s reporting, for example, investigated who her “mystery kisser” was at the tailgate and then did a deep dive into his family’s past. Readers now know more about the teenage rugby player and his esteemed parents, cousins, and grandparents than most do about their own family history.

Users on Twitter agree and also find it appalling that Obama’s weekend activities draw as much interest online as serious issues.

To be quite honest, Obama’s smoking habits and potential boyfriends are the least of this country’s problems and the press should start to treat it that way.

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*First Published: Nov 24, 2017, 12:24 pm CST