Celebrity’s lure and the White House gate-crashers

No one older than 10 should be surprised that some people will do anything to get on television. But a public’s patience is sorely tested by a parade of moronic celebrity-seeking actions with serious consequences.

Take Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginia couple who are being investigated for crashing President Obama’s first state dinner.

The two aspiring reality stars didn’t care that they didn’t have an invitation or their names on the list used by Secret Service guards manning the front gate. As they later boasted on their Facebook page, the two were able to walk into the White House, be announced by a Marine and spend the evening taking pictures with the president, vice president and other public officials. Yes, those pictures are on Facebook as well.

The Secret Service must explain how the couple breached supposedly unbreachable security.

The Salahis have appeared, sober and contrite, on at least one morning television show to explain what they call a “misunderstanding.” No one should buy it.

The couple’s fame-seeking is not grist for the reality-TV mills. This is no laughing matter. Their romp at the White House places a spotlight on how well, or not, the president is protected. Such concern is not misplaced but an appropriate acknowledgment of post-9/11 security realities and the many death threats received by the nation’s first black president.

The likelihood the couple passed through metal detectors is small reassurance. Anthrax scares of the not-so-distant past gave all of us a crash course in the many ways harm can be done.

There will always be social climbers and those in search of instant celebrity. Not far enough in the dim recesses of the public’s collective memory is Octomom, the California mother of 14 and proud recipient of many, many taxpayers dollars. Let’s not forget Balloon Boy, the 6-year-old falsely reported missing by his parents who thought a rescue drama would help them land a reality show.

There should be no tolerance for those who seek the power of celebrity by playing fast and loose with the truth, rules and their own common sense.

The above editorial was originally published Dec. 3 by the Seattle Times. Content was made available by MCTCampus.