Photographer Who Actually Attended Mandela Service Undermines Columnist’s Premise

The New York Post’s Andrea Peyser didn’t need to make the trip to South Africa to know that President Obama was philandering only inches away from his wife while attending Nelson Mandela’s memorial service earlier this week.

Peyser took a gander at some photos that appeared to show First Lady Michelle Obama scowling at her husband while he joked around with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and the columnist had the smoking gun she needed.

But a photographer who was actually at the memorial service and captured the scene made it clear that the first lady wasn’t really upset, undermining a column by Peyser that was published on Thursday.

Roberto Schmidt, a photographer for AFP, wrote this week that he was surprised to learn how people were characterizing Michelle Obama’s demeanor during the much-publicized “selfie” that involved the President, Thorning-Schmidt and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture,” Schmidt wrote. “But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.”

The first lady’s seemingly icy expression in some of the photos became something of a meme on Twitter, prompting jokes that President Obama had found himself in the doghouse for what looked like playful flirting.

Peyser took the meme seriously, blasting the President for acting “like a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar.” She also demanded that President Obama apologize not only to his wife, but the world as well.

For good measure, here’s a shot of Michelle Obama smiling at the “Danish hellcat”:

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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