Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Happy Face

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Happy Face

Article excerpt

White House bills newspapers for Barbara Bush's makeup artist following interviews with her; papers say they'll no longer pay

THE FIRST LADY may be putting on a happy face during these last weeks of campaigning, but two newspapers said they will no longer provide her rosy glow.

Editors at the Houston Post and the New York Times were surprised to receive an invoice from the White House for services of a makeup artist after recent interviews with Barbara Bush.

Both papers paid the bills, which were sent by a Springfield, Va., woman who works for Bush on a regular basis.

New York Times assistant managing editor Allan M. Siegal wrote a memo to the staff concerning such out-of-pocket expenses for getting a picture.

"We recently received, and paid, a bill from the White House for makeup costs for a portrait session with Barbara Bush," the memo said. "Hereafter we should not reimburse newsworthy figures for their expenses in being photographed, any more than we would pay them for their time or their clothing. If this means, for example, that we have to use a portrait made without makeup, so be it; the decision to wear makeup rests with the subject . . . "

"The general feeling here is that this photo of the first lady is in a political context, and therefore news. We want to be sure we are not in the position of paying for news," said William K. Adler, New York Times spokesman.

Anna Perez, the first lady's spokeswoman, told the New York Post that "when a magazine or newspaper or a television station asks Mrs. Bush to sit for a photograph, we forward the makeup and hairstyling costs to them. Mrs. Bush does not wear camera-ready makeup on the street."

If papers will not pay for makeup, Perez said the White House offers a file photo of Mrs. Bush rather than have her photographed during the interview.

Houston Post reporter Clifford Pugh did the interview, which ran Aug. 16 during the Republican National Convention. "Myths and Mysteries: Barbara Bush" noted that, while her "aides maintain the first lady has little interest in such things as hair and makeup, after she was photographed for this article, her press office billed the Houston Post $75 for a makeup artist to prepare her for the pictures.

"Even though Bush likes to poke fun at her appearance, the truth is she always has had the well-groomed, monied look of an upper-class matron," Pugh wrote. …

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