Well, THAT didn’t take long. After it was revealed that the “new” White House initiative spearheaded by Melania Trump regarding safety online and in mobile applications — called “Be Best” and unveiled on Monday as an offshoot of her larger effort to clean up online behavior — was a simple cut-and-paste of the same thing that the Obama administration did in 2014, the White House hustled like never before to clean up any evidence of the blatant plagiarism.
By Tuesday morning, gone was the phrase “by First Lady Melania Trump,” or rather, that phrase was supplemented with the word “promoted” in front of it.
The online “pamphlet” on internet safety was, as many Twitter users observed, barely even updated from the original document called “NetCetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online” published during Obama’s second term. The new name? Creatively enough, “Talking With Kids About Being Online.” Even the graphics used were barely changed, with a minor update to an illustration of a cell phone to make it look slightly more modern.
The White House at first attempted to pass it off as something new, with the official website heralding the booklet as a collaboration:
But Tuesday, the White House Communications Director issued a statement obtained by New Century Times, an excerpt of which is below:
Yesterday, First Lady Melania Trump unveiled Be Best, her initiative meant to support children and the many issues they are facing today.
After giving a strong speech that was met with a standing ovation and positive feedback, the focus from opposition media has been on an educational booklet, “Talking with Kids About Being Online” produced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2009. Mrs. Trump agreed to add Be Best branding and distribute the booklet in an effort to use her platform to amplify the positive message within. As she said in yesterday’s speech, she is going to use Be Best to promote people and organizations to encourage conversation and replication, and helping the FTC distribute this booklet is just one small example.
Despite providing countless outlets with ample background, information, and on-the-record comments from the FTC, some media have chosen to take a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children, to instead lob baseless accusations towards the First Lady and her new initiatives.
The statement included a quote from the FTC “Consumer and Business Education Division Associate Director,” a position that wasn’t on the bureau’s organizational flowchart before it was updated just a few weeks ago, about being happy that Mrs. Trump agreed to distribute the materials.
But with information that’s been online for years, isn’t “distributing” it sort of like saying “you’re welcome for all this air you’re breathing”?
Featured image via Mario Tama/Getty Images