By ISABELLA VACCARO
After her first visit with President Trump in June to lobby the release of Alice Marie Johnson from her lifetime prison sentence, Kardashian West returned to the White House this Wednesday to attend a listening session on clemency reform.
An article on CNN.com, headlined “Kim Kardashian at White House for clemency review session,” briefly mentioned Kardashian West’s participation at the meeting, but quickly moved on, focusing rather on other reform activists and attendees.
Authors Jeremy Diamond and Betsy Klein chose to interview human rights attorney Jessica Jackson Sloan, who attended the session to advocate the reduction in inmate populations of federal prisons. Sloan complimented Jared Kushner and other White House staff for their efforts, and even regarded Kushner as “one of the most persistent and passionate advocates for criminal justice reform.”
The article even went on to discuss the progress of the First Step Act — a bill pushing to entice prisoners with early release if they participate in rehabilitation, thus decreasing the number of federal prisoners — which is still in limbo after pausing in Senate this summer.
The article mentioned that Kardashian West gave “concrete feedback” at the meeting and brought up her involvement with another drug-related imprisonment case, quoting one of her Tweets on the subject. But, that’s it.
There was not one direct quote from the reality star, and her presence in the article seemed, in my opinion, out of place. The purpose of the article was to report on the progress of various sentencing reforms, as well as explain what was discussed at the clemency review.
Despite the clear goal of the article, Kardashian West’s name seemed to plague the headline, lede and first three paragraphs of the story — not to mention the video interview with her at the very top of the article. It is obvious that the beauty icon’s insertion into a blatantly political article was a media ploy to appeal to a larger readership.
The strong emphasis on Kardashian West was unnecessary in achieving the goal of the article and actually proved misleading as to the contents of the rest of the piece, which did not have much to do with her. The authors could have definitely mentioned her attendance at the meeting, but should have probably chosen a different headline, lede and visual medium to accompany the story.
Nonetheless, what the article does well is detail Trump’s involvement on the issue, as well as the standpoints of various attendees of the meeting, including former federal judge Kevin Sharp and the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. It is also well-reported, quoting three attendees of the listening session.