Obama Grants Interviews to YouTube Stars | Media Training
President Obama granted interviews last week to three YouTube stars. Howard Kurtz, the Fox News Channel media critic, criticized the President for this action, calling it “undignified.” Hmmm…I remember not that long ago when broadcast journalists felt that anything to do with cable TV was “undignified.”
Elected officials have a need and even a duty to communicate with as many citizens as possible, any way they can. So it’s inevitable that any and every president will try to reach the younger, YouTube-focused audience.
One of the personalities who interviewed Obama was Hank Green, someone I have watched frequently. Green is actually more thoughtful and intelligent than 99% of so-called serious network news correspondents I have ever seen. However, another person who interviewed Obama is famous primarily for having eaten a tub full of jello.
So it does beg the question, where should a President or high-ranking public official draw the line?
I certainly don’t think a President should be interviewed while wearing his/her underwear or while in a hot tub. And if a news personality is known primarily for sexual titillation, I see no value for a President appearing on that program. But beyond that, as long as a President can clearly articulate his views on top issues of the day, I don’t see any hard and fast rules for saying no. In fact, the default position for any public official should be to say “yes” to interview requests.
It’s now a week or so after the President’s YouTube interviews and our democracy is still standing. Coincidently (or perhaps not), the President’s approval ratings are higher than they have been in years, at 50%.
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