Image Credits: AP PHOTO

If you Google UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s name with the keyword “curtains,” you’ll be confronted with a few pages of extremely misleading news article results.

The narrative goes like this: while the State Department was engaging in budget cuts and lay-offs, Ambassador Haley had the nerve to install $52,000 worth of electronically-controlled curtains in her ridiculously expensive state-issued apartment.

The New York Times originally published the story with a quote from Obama-era White House official Brett Bruen, “How can you, on the one hand, tell diplomats that basic needs cannot be met and, on the other hand, spend more than $50,000 on a customized curtain system for the ambassador to the U.N.?” Obviously, this quote makes the Ambassador look superfluous, elitist and out-of-touch.

Here’s the catch, though. The curtains were installed during Haley’s tenure, but the decision to purchase the curtains was made in 2016 by the Obama Administration. The previous administration relocated the office from the Waldorf Astoria due to security reasons. They chose the new apartment and initiated the purchase of the curtains. Of course, you’d only know that if you read to the fourth paragraph of the New York Times story. More frequently, however, the story notes the cost of the apartment and the cost-cutting actions of former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

After the New York Times story broke yesterday, numerous publications also wrote stories about Haley’s “scandal” including The Hill, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair and even Vogue. All of the articles have a tiny little mention of the fact that these curtains were not even Haley’s idea. Nevertheless, they spare no punches. Vanity Fair wrote:

“To be fair, plans for the fancy new curtain system were apparently made during the Obama administration in 2016. Haley “had no say in the purchase,” her spokesperson told the Times. (It doesn’t appear that she protested, either!) Also, she’s working with a skeletal staff that would barely have time to set out drinks and appetizers while Haley is entertaining, let alone draw the blinds.” 

Vogue perhaps is the runner-up for most aggressive with a headline that reads, “Nikki Haley Is the Latest White House Big Spender, Thanks to Her $52,000 Curtains.”

The problem isn’t that the press is covering this purchase. After all, $52,000 is a lot of money for some curtains. The problem is how and when the press is covering this story. The story could have broken much earlier. This would make sense considering the initial decision was made two years ago. The story could also be given a fair headline. They could have clarified that Haley isn’t some elitist monster who demanded a new apartment and expensive curtains.

When conservatives say that the media is biased, it’s because of stories like this. It’s not that we don’t want Republican politicians covered negatively when they deserve to be covered negatively. But, painting Ambassador Haley as the villain in this story is not only factually incorrect, it’s become malicious and demeaning. Nevertheless, the stories will most likely continue to run. I doubt we’ll see any feminist groups defending the first female governor of South Carolina.

Karly M.
Karly Matthews is a student at Temple University, where she is majoring in political science and journalism while minoring in Spanish. At any given moment, Karly can be found talking about Marco Rubio and advocating for conservative values with a large coffee mug and color-coded planner in hand.

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