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Why cover Obama's hamburger lunch? People like it.

By Jimmy Orr / May 6, 2009

President Obama and Vice President Biden order hamburgers at Ray's Hell Burgers in Arlington, Virginia.

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Every time there's a human interest story about the president or the first lady, there's always criticism from "serious journalists" and "serious citizens" who can't understand why a news outlet would devote air time or pixel space to something they consider meaningless.

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Take yesterday's hamburger run by President Obama and Vice President Biden. It got a lot of attention. As NBC's Sara K. Smith writes, "This event was so exciting and significant that every major media outlet covered it."

That's true. We did. Monitor reporter Linda Feldmann was on pool duty. She blogged about it, and it was the second most read story on the web site yesterday. You can read it here.

Snoot

Some of our readers (who curiously clicked to read the story) said it was not newsworthy:

Cogito wrote, "This is news??? Good, grief…"

Nani offered, "Wow…a free lunch for biased press coverage."

But most enjoyed the article.

Smith sarcastically said the hamburger run was the "most important event in human history since the invention of fire." And she wondered why such events are covered.

Simple. People are interested in it. It doesn't mean they aren't interested in TARP or taxes or the situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There can be a balance.

Personal

There's a lot of interest in the president's dog. And the Queen's iPod. And where the president and first lady had Valentine's dinner. And whatever Joe Biden has to say.

And it's not just this president. People were just as interested in the personal side of President George W. Bush. Just as interested.

For example, whenever a non-newsmaker appeared on "Ask the White House" (the online chat on the White House web site) traffic increased.

When the White House curator discussed ghosts in the White House, traffic spiked. Or when the chef answered questions about food, traffic soared. Whenever Barney the dog was discussed, record traffic was recorded.

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