No Ann Romney Treatment: Media Sidestep Five-Figure Price Estimate on Mrs. Obama's State Dinner Dress

February 15th, 2014 7:48 AM

Michael W. Chapman of our sister site reports on cost estimates for the hand-sewn gown Michelle Obama wore at Tuesday’s state dinner for the prime minister of France. Think five figures. If Ann Romney were First Lady now, would that escape the media’s politicized scrutiny? (In 2012, she was slammed for wearing a $990 shirt on "CBS This Morning."

Wednesday’s Washington Post merely carried the headline “America, elegantly draped over her shoulders” next to a foot-high page-dominating photograph of Mrs. Obama in the dress. Michelle-loving fashion writer Robin Givhan insisted only “churlish” rumblers would lower themselves to asking about the price tag of a gown like this:

The more modestly priced a garment is, the greater likelihood that it is manufactured abroad. But for a state dinner, price becomes a churlish rumble, taking a back seat to glamour, prestige – politics – and a dress that will make America proud.

But in 2012, in Ann Romney's case, the Post headline was headline was “Ann Romney's $990 T-shirt is indicative of a tone-deaf campaign” and Suzi Parker began by asking “Does Ann Romney wear her $990 designer shirt while driving one of her two Cadillacs?” That came alongside the Post celebrated Mrs. Obama in London wearing a "princely" $6,800 jacket.

The Post (and the rest of the lapdog media) found nothing "tone deaf" in Mrs. Obama tweeting a picture of the First Family's two dogs (one in jewels) posing at a state dinner table.

Chapman reported that Michelle Obama’s dress was made by designer Carolina Herrera, 75, Venezuelan-born, but naturalized an American citizen in 2009. As for the cost?

On CNN February 11, Elle magazine’s creative director, Joe Zee, said that “a dress like that from Mrs. Herrera could potentially run up to almost $10,000.” On the same program, Washington Post writer and Georgetown socialite Sally Quinn said, “I think that dress probably cost around $12,000. But that’s just my guess.”

Chapman imagined what the media would dig up if we were in a Romney universe. That price is “more than the median annual household income worldwide of $9,733, and greater than the median income for households in at least 87 countries, according to data from Gallup.”

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