Omission Watch: Vanity Fair Says Obamas 'Making Themselves Super Rich'

January 17th, 2020 1:31 PM

The same media elites are are eternally suspicious of all Trump business activities -- a fair topic for investigation -- have generally demonstrated a dramatic incuriosity about the Barack and Michelle Obama wealth boom. Whatever coverage bubbles up comes with a You-Go-Guys tone. Last August, TMZ reported the Obamas were buying a $15 million mansion on Martha's Vineyard. Non-Fox network coverage? Zero. In December, they actually bought said mansion for $11.75 million. Non-Fox network coverage? Again, zero. 

Now Joe Pompeo at Vanity Fair is addressing the Obama Boom in a chirpy piece on the "Obamoguls" and how their wealth is "Propelled by still-potent political hope." Here's how NBC media reporter Dylan Byers summed it up in his Byers Market newsletter: 

"Barack and Michelle Obama [are] making movies and shows for Netflix, podcasts for Spotify, best sellers for Penguin Random House, mega-events for Live Nation — and making themselves super rich along the way," Vanity Fair's Joe Pompeo writes in a deep dive into the couple's previously reported media deals.

The numbers: "Penguin Random House reportedly paid... $65 million"... The Netflix deal "is rumored to rival their publishing payday" ... The Spotify deal is "said to be in the $10 million to $20 million range."

The big picture: "Former first couples have been parlaying their White House credentials into lucrative next acts for decades... But a confluence of circumstances" — their popularity, the rise of streaming services, etc. — "makes the Obamas’ post presidential livelihood a sui generis proposition."

Even this story doesn't have any real numbers. Maybe the press could ask for a tax return?

Byers didn't have room for Pompeo's next sentence: "Barack Obama’s proven gifts as a best-selling author; Michelle Obama’s saintly popularity, which rivals or exceeds her husband’s; the rise of streaming entertainment and social media as mass distribution engines; the intense nostalgia felt by more than half the country for the era in which the Obamas reigned."

Pompeo suggested "The whole thing is an enormous bet on a sort of premium civic storytelling—an intersection of literary sensibilities and leftish, ameliorative politics," but "A more cynical assessment is that the Obamas are in the game of big-time wealth accumulation....all indications are that they want to be Al Gore rich, not Jimmy Carter rich."

He acknowledged they're still "heavily engaged" in civic endeavors, and allowed Obama pal Valerie Jarrett to spin it hard: 

“Their paths have always been driven by public service,” says Valerie Jarrett, “and these resources give them an opportunity to have even more of an impact. If they’re a force for good and are able to do well and make money at the same time, I think that’s what we should hope for from all business leaders.”

That spin always works with the media elites that eagerly voted for Obama twice, and seem to promote the Obamas at any moment the Obamas wish to be promoted.