The wedding of First Daughter Jenna Bush is legitimately big news, but it produces a bit of a conundrum in how the event is covered. No press were allowed at the event, which—as you probably already know—took place Saturday at President Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch. Because of the media embargo, the papers have to rely on the photos and information released by the White House to write about the big day. What this means is that the Post and the Daily News are running the same pictures and using the same quotes from the president about how “spectacular” the day was.
The similar layouts are “photo album” style. The News puts its coverage on pages 2 and 3, while the Post places “Jenna’s Wedding Album” (complete with ridiculous script font) on page 23. We learn that the First Daughter was decked out in Oscar de la Renta and that a giant cross was erected in the yard for the occasion.
Really, it’s just like just about every other set of wedding photos you’ve ever seen: we get the proud papa beaming and posing with his little girl, the photo of both families together with the bride and groom, a solo shot of the bride and her bouquet, the exchange of vows, and the cake cutting. (Am I the only one who thinks that the cake looks like it’s going to topple over? It’s the awkward angle of the photo, but I think it’s also because I’ve seen too many episodes of Ace of Cakes on the Food Network.) Of course, the main difference is that both of these families (Jenna’s husband, Henry Hager, is the son of an influential GOP family) could probably buy and sell the majority of tabloid readers a thousand times over. Still, we like to look at these photos because for one brief moment, it seems that the leader of the free world is “just like us.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 12, 2008