Like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, Barack Obama’s past has been laid bare for Internet gawkers everywhere. But that may be where any similarity ends.
Instead of Inside Edition and Perez Hilton, Obama has been scrutinized by the New York Times and legal eagles Akhil Amar, Randy Barnett, John Eastman, and Pam Karlan. Fortunately for Obama, the past under review has received largely glowing reviews.
The precise target of the scrutiny is Obama’s 1994 syllabus for a seminar and, more strikingly, his late Nineties through early 2000s exams and model answers for constitutional law.
The blogosphere is alight with commentary on Obama’s course materials and what this reveals about Obama.
I don’t want to focus on the quality of those papers and what they allow us to predict about Obama today, but rather on what this story reveals about (1) the New York Times and the way news is processed and received in the Web 2.0 era; and (2) the precariousness of our privacy today.