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Monday, May 20, 2024

To quote Seth Meyers, “President Obama was finally outed as a Democrat.”

On May 9, Obama said in an interview with ABC News, “I’ve just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

This was after a few minutes of speculation of what the president’s interview would consist of on Twitter – in fact, the story broke a little early thanks to a news pal of mine, Matthew Keys (@ProducerMatthew).

He was scoping out news results for www.abcnews.go.com when he discovered an empty page with the slug describing Obama’s stance.

Oops, I guess, but it made for an exciting afternoon.

Since then, media outlets have expressed their opinion/spin/point of view of our president’s announcement.

Fox Nation’s scandalous headline read, at first, “Obama Flip Flops, Declares War On Marriage” before the site changed it to, “Obama Flip Flops On Gay Marriage.”

OK. I’m not entirely sure what’s true in any of those statements, but I don’t think it’s much.

This week’s cover of “Newsweek” calls Obama “The First Gay President.”

But, like, really? Is he really the first gay president? No, of course not.

Is he the first president to be clear and outspoken about his feelings on gay marriage? Yes, and that’s truly a huge step forward.

I’m still not sure, though, if politicians should be praised for not basing their decisions on what a religious text dictates. Tolerance (a.k.a. being patient with people because they are different from you) is not something that should be celebrated; instead, speaking out in favor of basic human rights should be.

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I feel like the media have one level of reaction: knee-jerk.

We’re trained to be the first, the fairest and the most accurate. But when sensational and breaking news goes down, it’s like all bets are off in the world of journalism.

Magazines, and newspapers to an extent, have to sell units. I understand that. This just seems like such an important and touchy subject that I don’t know how appropriate it is to capitalize on a pivotal moment in American history.

We’re living in a crazy time, folks, where it’s controversial for a woman to choose whether or not to wear makeup. (For the record, I’m on Hillary’s side: pro-choice.)

Because heaven forbid women are walking around this planet without makeup. Oh, no. Oh, dear. How will we ever survive this monstrosity? How will we bear to go on?

Spare me.

Presidential election years are hard on everybody. It certainly seems like one false move can cost a campaign everything it has worked so hard to gain. It is incredibly irresponsible for the media to put any sort of additional or unnecessary flavor on an already tough situation.

So go out and get those page views, media outlets. Ask those polls and pin those pictures. Start engaging with your audience by being as radical as possible and see how much of it sticks.

I always thought being pretty moderate gathered all kinds of fans, but maybe spending time screaming extremes is the way to go.

I’m never one to judge; if you like terrible bands then you like terrible bands. There’s not much I can do to fix that or to change your mind.

If you like someone of the same sex or don’t feel like wearing foundation today, there’s not much I can do about that either.

And that’s perfectly fine with me.

Sami Main is a journalism senior at UF. Her column appears on Tuesdays. You may email her at opinions@alligator.org.

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