Too fit to be President?
... In a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them...
While most voters don't base their decision on physical appearance alone, a candidate's height, weight and overall look can play a big role in what Americans perceive as "presidential," says Thomas "Mack" McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.
In an earlier post describing the rise and rise of Mike Huckabee I noted how something as innocuous as appearance can signal to voters how "Presidential" a candidate is.
With the relentless and exhaustive coverage of the 08 election, The WSJ piece would likely be filed under 'Human Interest'. The Carpetbagger Report raises questions on this type of trivial journalism.
WSJ asks: ‘Could Sen. Obama’s skinniness be a liability?’
Some reporting on human-interest stories relating to presidential candidates is normal; news outlets aren’t going to be all-substance, all-the-time. Adding some trivia to the mix can help make coverage of the campaign, for lack of a better word, “lively.”
The problem is when the media treats trivia as if it were serious. I don’t mind frivolous reporting, so much as I mind when news outlets pretend it isn’t frivolous reporting.
Update: August 9, 2008
TheOnion.com has a funny take on voter waistlines -
As Obese Population Rises, More Candidates
Courting The Fat Vote