Radio guests -- they say the darndest things.
One has to wonder if the Rev. Al Sharpton would have invited journalist, publisher, radio host and academic Karen Hunter on his radio show Feb. 24 had he known she would chide first lady Michelle Obama in remarks not far removed from criticism of Mrs. Obama by Rush Limbaugh.
First, here's what Limbaugh said on his radio show three days earlier (audio here) --
I'm sure you're aware that nutritionist at large Michelle Obama is urging, demanding, advocating, requiring what everybody can and can't eat. She's demanding that everybody basically eat cardboard and tofu. No calories, no fat, no nothing, we gotta stop obesity. Except as in the case of all leftists, that's true for you but not for them. Michelle My Belle minus the husband took the kids out to Vail on a ski vacation. They were spotted eating and they were feasting on ribs -- ribs that were 1,575 calories per serving with 141 grams of fat per serving. Now I'm sure some of you, members of the new castrati (in sarcastic voice), this is typical of what you do, Mr. Limbaugh! You take an isolated, once-in-a-lifetime experience and try to say that she's a hypocrite! She is a hypocrite! Leaders are supposed to be leaders. If we're supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we're supposed to eat roots and berries and tree bark and so, show us how! And if it's supposed to make us fit, if it's supposed to make us healthier, show us how! The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice. And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per ser-. Yeah, it does, what do you mean, what do I mean? ...
I'm trying to say that our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe and, you know, and Michelle My Belle's out there saying if you eat the roots and the tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff, you'll live longer, be healthier and you won't be obese. OK, fine, show us!
Just as it would look ridiculous for President Obama to pontificate on the evils of tobacco shortly before being seen sneaking a smoke in the Rose Garden. Unless the president has actually quit smoking, as we've been told.
Here's Karen Hunter on Sharpton's radio show weighing in (sorry) on the same subject (audio) --
I applaud Michelle Obama, I love that she's out there, I love that she jumps double dutch. I was a little disappointed that she had to eat those ribs because you know you're under scrutiny and not that she can't eat ribs, she has the right to eat ribs. But you leave yourself open because you have to know these people are watching your every single move. She coulda had those ribs sent to her room or something! She didn't have to eat them in public.
"But you leave yourself open," Hunter warned, clearly suggesting the vulnerability here would be to valid criticism of hypocrisy. It wasn't just Hunter disagreeing with Sharpton on this; so did a caller to Sharpton's show after Hunter's appearance, as described by Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer. Meanwhile, Mrs. Obama finds that she has two unlikely allies in her corner -- past and current Republican governors Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie, according to the New York Daily News.
There is, however, a crucial distinction between the opinions expressed by Limbaugh and Hunter. Limbaugh is saying, don't be a hypocrite. Hunter is saying, don't be a hypocrite in public.