This week, Politico was heavily criticized for its coverage of Vice President Kamala Harris’s refusal to use Bluetooth headphones.
The feature titled “West Wing Playbook” bills itself as an inside scoop on the people and power centers in President Joe Biden’s administration. But the first section of the feature about Harris’ choice of headphones is bizarre to say the least.
Why is Politico so obsessed with Harris’s aversion to Bluetooth?
The write up points out Harris doesn’t use AirPods on her iPhone.
In fact, she is almost always seen with wired headphones, whether it’s the highly meme-able video congratulating Biden on their election win or in video interviews.
The article then makes the claim wired headphones are the “hip vintage” accessory for Gen Z, like there wasn’t backlash and people still complaining today about Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone.
However, they point out this isn’t some attempt to be cool, but for security reasons, describing the VP’s care about technology as “paranoid.”
The unfair characterization was widely criticized online.
The article continues by comparing her refusal to use Bluetooth headphones to other precautions Harris would take.
They mention in her 2016 senate bid, Harris preferred texting compared to email for security reasons. And a former aide from Harris’ time as attorney general in California said when a person arrived for a meeting and Harris wasn’t there, they weren’t allowed to wait in her office alone.
Despite all these examples showing how Harris is cautious, Politico just writes it all off by saying:
“But still, should someone who travels with the nuclear football be spending time untangling her headphone wires? The American people deserve answers!”
It looks like Politico would have to wait for those answers, as the Harris team was a little too busy.
Especially strange is the article never even considers it might be a good idea for someone with the level of security clearance Harris has to avoid Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth connection protocols are relatively insecure compared to other kinds of connections and pairings. Vulnerabilities are often patched and updated, but the exploits have allowed for devices to be taken over before being fixed.
For the average person, it’s likely not an issue. Just keep your devices updated and turn off the Bluetooth on your phone when it’s not in use.
But for the Vice President of the United States, why would you take that risk at all?
Despite staying out of the headlines, critics still find strange ways to try and pull Harris into the spotlight.
Just last month, a right-wing website was outraged Harris had purchased cookware and dishes.
The response online was less angry than the website was hoping.