Still Rehabilitating Desiree Rogers' Reputation

The Times engaged in another round of public rehabilitation for disgraced former staffer and Obama confidante Desiree Rogers, this time in a story by Jeremy Peters on the front of Sunday Styles: "Desiree Rogers, Post Crash - The former White House social secretary, chided for focusing on fashion and the media, now finds that it's her job."

Rogers is now chief executive of the publishing company that owns the magazines Ebony and Jet, and eight glamour shots of Rogers and a friend dominate the section's front page. Peters' lead:

After Desirée Rogers left her job as White House social secretary last winter amid grousing about whom she let into presidential events (uninvited aspiring reality television stars) and whom she didn't (doyennes of Washington society accustomed to A-list treatment), she paused to reflect on a tenure that had been so groundbreaking yet so fractious.

"I took time to try to analyze and understand what happened," Ms. Rogers said one recent afternoon over tea at the St. Regis, which has become her home away from home on her frequent visits to New York.

So what exactly did happen?

"Try," she laughed softly, explaining that despite all her soul searching, she never really did figure it all out. "I never did. I never did. I can't even - I can't give you an answer on that one."

During her 15-month stay in Washington, Ms. Rogers broke molds. She was the first black person to occupy the position of social secretary. She approached the job with egalitarian visions of returning the "people's house" to the people themselves. And she cut a high-wattage public profile - in Chanel heels and Comme des Garçons evening dresses - for a job that was traditionally conducted out of public view.


Ms. Rogers, 51, elegant and seemingly unflappable, is certainly relishing her newfound liberation. During New York Fashion Week, she watched shows by Jason Wu, Thakoon and Rodarte from front-row seats, blogging about her experience. Since taking over in her new role, she has consulted the Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter for advice on navigating the magazine business. "Desirée is a rock star," Ms. Wintour said when asked about Ms. Rogers's prospects as a magazine executive.

This is not the first occasion the Times has buttered up Rogers, even after she left the White House after a furor over a reality-show couple gate-crashing a state dinner, an incident mentioned by Peters in a way to suggest that it was all "grousing" and not really her fault.