What’s up with the media’s strange obsession with President Bush’s twin daughters?

The mainstream press’ intrusive, intimate coverage of a minor rite of passage for most American college students seems more like the National Enquirer than even the Enquirer itself.

True, it was incredibly stupid for an underage president’s daughter – or two of them – to think she would get away with using a fake ID to attempt to purchase alcohol (and that no one would recognize her). After all, Jenna and Barbara Bush have been all over People magazine, USA Today and other publications from Inauguration day forward. But what bar manager calls 911 over this? Only a liberal guy in liberal Austin, Texas, looking to dent a conservative president’s image. Or a guy who wants to get his 15 minutes along with the Bush’s 1600.

But, aside from the fact that it’s the complete opposite of the hands-off press treatment for Chelsea Clinton, it borders on bizarre and salacious. Especially because they are twins. The press ought to be ashamed. Their perverted coverage of Jenna and Barbara Bush sounds like Playboy’s “Twin” issue and “Ivy League” edition packed into one.

Take the New York Daily News headline, “DOUBLE TROUBLE,” or New York Post’s “JENNA AND TONIC.” And there’s Newsweek’s June 11th issue, containing, “Busted Again in Margaritaville: The President’s Twins.”

“Blond twin Jenna is the good-time girl,” blares Playboy, er, Newsweek. “[D]ark-haired daughter Barbara, who just finished her freshman year at Yale, is the quiet and studious type (goes) with some friends to a World Wrestling Federation match in New York. Some friends call Barbara “the instigator.” While charming and ebullient, Jenna is a little “spacey,” say her friends and prone to pratfalls. At the Inaugural ball, her strapless dress slipped down while she was dancing with her father.” Puh-leeze. I can just feel the authors of this Newsweek trash, Evan Thomas and Martha Brant, drooling for an X-rated picture of the mishap. Enough already. Leave Jenna and Barbara alone, like you did with Chelsea.

The “sexy Bush twins who like to party” story is solely the creation of a salivating media’s lust. And it didn’t start with citations for attempts at underage drinking. That’s just an excuse. Remember back in January when Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of “South Park,” announced their new Comedy Central show, “That’s My Bush”? They proclaimed that their new show would be “barely legal,” because it would feature the Bush daughters depicted as “hot and sexy lesbian lovers” engaging in oral sex. They backed off – under pressure – but even they weren’t the first to exploit Jenna and Barbara. Back in the fall, prior to the election, even George Magazine got in on the act. In a page on fashion, George juxtaposed photos of the Bush daughters in skimpy halter and tube tops with photos of the covered-up Gore daughters. The implication was very clear.

And liberals – like MSNBC whiner Mitch Albom – who justify this weird Bush daughter media-fetish, claiming that Bush campaigned with them – obviously weren’t paying attention. Sorry, Mitch, but the Bushes made a conscious effort not to use their daughters in the campaign at all. For most of the fall, Jenna and Barbara were away at school. They were only seen in public at the Republican National Convention and the Inauguration.

As opposed to Chelsea Clinton, used as a Clinton propaganda tool since the age of 12, in 1992, when she was used in the campaign. Until the bitter end, when she was used as a sympathy ploy in Monicagate and the New York Senate race. Yet, unlike with Jenna and Barbara, the press kept its hands off, and precious Chelsea could do no wrong. We’ll never know whether Chelsea drank illegally. The press didn’t cover it. Maybe because she was a lot less attractive. And because her parents were a lot more liberal.

The press also didn’t cover fake IDs and more serious transgressions by daughters of another prominent liberal – Al Gore. Karenna Gore Schiff was an avid drinker and pot smoker as far back as high school, according to a February 2000 Talk Magazine article by the Washington Post’s Hanna Rosin.

“[Friends] say Karenna pushed the boundaries of average teen experimentation, describing her as one of the wildest of their bunch, and dark,” the article states. “We smoked a lot of pot,” several high-school classmates says of Karenna. On the roof of Al Gore’s home, “She and her friends would stay up drinking, smoking and talking. They once ordered fake IDs.” On Friday or Saturday nights, “the phrase of choice was boot and rally – as in drink till you boot so you can then rally and drink some more.” It went on in her Harvard days, too.

But, strangely, the press – including Rosin’s own Washington Post – chose to ignore this during last fall’s campaign. Drugs. In high school. At Vice President Al Gore’s house. It’s a lot worse than what’s being alleged about the Bush daughters, but liberal media figures, like Cokie and Steve Roberts, covered it up. Instead the media gushed over Karenna’s and the other Gore daughters’ every syllable, every appearance on MTV, every platitude about “their generation.” Cokie and Steve, now obsessed with the Bush twins’ alcohol incidents, fawned over even the hole in Karenna’s mitten, while ignoring her illegal marijuana/alcohol/fake ID usage. They merely glossed over it as “rough patches” and an “earthy hippy crunchy” period of “aimlessness.”

Amazingly, Mike Myers had to apologize to the Clintons for making fun of Chelsea on “Saturday Night Live.” But when Clinton friend and “The Producers” star Nathan Lane jokes about “happy hour with the Bush twins,” on Sunday Night’s “Tony Awards,” he’s just an all-around good guy. These days, Lane makes his money singing “Springtime for Hitler.”

And the press makes its money by making Springtime open season on the
Bush Twins.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.