As Vogue made clear this week it has no intention of following lockstep with the incoming administration’s demand to dictate the terms of its editorial content, Breitbart reported.
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But Harris is pushing back forcefully after the magazine decided to use a photo of the soon-to-be vice president wearing a blazer, slacks and pair of casual tennis shoes, rather than one showing her in a powder-blue pantsuit.
The Vogue impasse could trigger the first big blowup of the Biden/Harris era, even before the Democrats recite the oath of office next week.
The Condé Nast lifestyle glossy—which remained relatively dormant, politically speaking, during Mike Pence‘s tenure as vice president—planned to celebrate Pence’s successor with its upcoming February cover-story, with the teaser “By the People, For the People: The United States of Fashion.”
On it, Harris—who appears without a mask on—is seen in a relatively muted, dark ensemble with one eye-catching exception: a pair of black, Converse Chuck-Taylor-style shoes.
“Making history was the first step. Now @kamalaharris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America—and lead it out of crisis,” said a caption with the Instagram preview.
Hands clenched, she appears ill-at-ease, perhaps signaling that with all the work to be done reunifying the country, she probably has something more pressing than a glamor photo shoot to be focused on.
Or maybe, given her historic role as the first woman vice-president to assume power in the US, she wondered whether the appearance may undermine the gravitas she often has sought to project.
However, after the were posted Saturday, Harris’s team made clear that it felt violated and double-crossed by the decision to use the more casual photo on front of its print edition instead of the blue-suit photo, which it reserved for its digital edition.
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“Harris‘ team was unaware that the cover photo had been switched until images leaked late Saturday, according to a person involved in the negotiations over how Harris would be featured on the cover,” the Associated Press reported.
Due to the sensitivity of the issues, the AP agreed to violate normal journalistic conventions by permitting the source to speak off the record.
“Harris‘ office declined comment and the person spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity,” it said.
The episode called to mind a similar sartorial crisis during the Barack Obama administration.
After Obama, in August 2014, was dinged for wearing a tan suit that some felt appeared too casual, media carped on it for several days—despite serious issues such as the rise of ISIS and growing racial divisions in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting, which had led to widespread riots only weeks earlier.
“Five years later, however, Tan Suit Gate has taken on a different meaning, coming to symbolize the relative dearth of scandals during the Obama administration,” the Washington Post dubiously claimed in a retrospective 2019 piece.
However, Obama critics—noting the abundance of scandals that reporters failed to cover at the time—may, instead, regard it as a low-point in mainstream media’s insufferable obsequiousness concerning the Democrat leader. Some might even suggest that it contributed to the public disgust that would go on to help elect President Donald Trump a year later.
Thankfully, as conservatives face widespread social-media purges and calls for “cleansing” by the political director of ABC News, it is clear that Vogue, at least, will be ready to step in and fill the void, functioning in the Fifth Estate’s essential role of checking public officials and holding them accountable.