Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Political battle for the White House fought in pages of women's magazines

First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have made magazines a platform for courting women voters.

Ann Romney sat down with the ladies of “The View” last week and tackled tough questions on abortion (her husband “has always been a pro-life person”), and why the Romney sons hadn’t served in the military (all were on Mormon missions, “We find different ways of serving”).

Last month, Michelle Obama stopped by the show with her husband. The topic of the Libya attack came up, but most of the questions were softball queries about their marriage.

The candidate’s wives have shown up in puffy articles in many magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Parade, and People.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find Michelle Obama in between the perfume and handbag ads in this month’s Elle.  But it doesn’t read like a puff piece.  It reads like a campaign mailer, complete with the “5 reasons to vote for Barack.”

Take a look at the "Letter from the First Lady" and tell me what you think.

There’s no equal time mandate for fashion magazines, and no restrictions on where the line is drawn between advocacy and information. But given how the American voting public is split nearly 50/50 this presidential election, the magazine is taking a chance on alienating half of its readers. And at a time when Newsweek is ceasing its print publication and magazines are folding left and right, it’s a risky — and possibly costly — move.

 

 

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