Is the political wife a prop or a problem?

I read an interesting piece on Poynter this morning which argued the US media seems only capable of defining the political wife as one or the other.

The column is a response to recent US media coverage of political wives which always attempts to find a simple narrative. In Canada, we tend to ignore political wives. We also don’t have the an “Office of the First Lady” for Laureen Harper.

It is for this reason that the column is not as relevant in the Canadian context. Sure, the political wife is political prop on election night, (I refer to the wife’s appearance beside the husband during his victory speech) but is quickly forgotten.

We do, however, take an interest in Laureen Harper when she acts as a patron for the Arts and other organizations. I believe the Canadian media does a good job of proving insightful analysis of her influence upon her husband, The Prime Minister.

When rumours became openly public that the Harper’s had split – rumours that which effectively public before their publication by Norman Spector – the media quickly and frankly ended them by noting the its repeated investigations had not found a shred of evidence.

The Poynter column closed with a strong statement: “Marriages are complex, and so is politics. Journalism is at its best when it reveals that reality.”

Something we should always strive to keep in mind.