Conservative Media Complain About Michelle Obama's Oscars Surprise

3:20 PM PST 02/25/2013 by Paul Bond
Getty Images
Michelle Obama, via video, at the Academy Awards

From Twitter to the airwaves, hosts express dismay at the mix of Hollywood and politics.

Conservative media wasted no time complaining about first lady Michelle Obama's presentation of the best picture Oscar during Sunday night's Academy Awards.

The criticism began almost immediately. Newsman Steven Gregory of KFI-AM, a Los Angeles talk station that carries Rush Limbaugh's syndicated show, tweeted that “when Michelle Obama was introduced by Jack Nicholson most of the reporters in the media groaned ... loudly.” (THR staffers in the press room didn't notice a mass groan.)

Soon thereafter, Twitter users created the hashtag #NextMichelleObamaAppearance, with suggestions for where the first lady will next appear. Examples included “Announcing the next pope,” “Driving the pace car at Indy 500 “ and “Writing a ‘Dear Abby’ column that will be required to be carried by all newspapers.”

STORY: Michelle Obama Makes Surprise Oscars Appearance, Reads Best Picture

Talk radio hosts took to the airwaves, largely taking the position that the Oscars should have been an Obama-free zone. The gist: Hollywood’s reputation for liberalism is well known, so why rub it in the faces of GOP moviegoers?

The segment, of course, had Jack Nicholson introducing the first lady, who appeared live from the White House on a giant screen at the Dolby Theatre. Behind her were U.S. military personnel.

On his Monday radio show, Rush Limbaugh compared the segment to the 1984 TV commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh computer.

“When I saw Michelle Obama on that giant screen, I mean, she dwarfed Nicholson,” Limbaugh said. “And I thought of 1984, the Macintosh ad from the Super Bowl in 1984. Exact type of scenario, except Michelle Obama was actually the Dear Leader of this, obviously a totalitarian state. And the Dear Leader was making some giant speech and fist-pounding and robotic citizens were sitting there nodding."

STORY: Harvey Weinstein Arranged Michelle Obama's Best Picture Oscars Surprise

Republican President Ronald Reagan appeared at the 1981 ceremony on a similarly sized screen but didn't present any awards.

Later, Limbaugh told of how he emailed Oscar host Seth MacFarlane prior to Sunday's telecast to wish him luck. The radio host said MacFarlane emailed back with, “You know what, I kind of understand how you conservatives feel about the media now.”

Explained Limbaugh, “Because they were already proclaiming him the worst host ever before the show had even aired.”

Others weighed in with criticism over the first lady’s use of military personnel as “props,” as radio host Laura Ingraham said, or “set decoration,” as Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin put it.

And Michael Medved, during his nationally syndicated radio show, played audio of the first lady talking about movies promoting the "power of love"  and encouraging children "to dream just a little bigger." Then he asked rhetorically whether Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty exemplified the type of example parents wanted to promote.

E-mail: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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