Obama reelection aide Stephanie Cutter on Sunday fielded one of the pressing questions of the week regarding media access to the president: Why go with soft interviews when the national press is clamoring for some face time? Jim Acosta put the matter this way: “ ‘Entertainment Tonight,’ People magazine . . . are they more important than the national news media?”
I don’t think that they’re more important, but I think they’re equally important. I think that’s where a lot of Americans get their news.
If only every American got his or her news solely from ‘ET’ — then the Obama reelection campaign would be set. In fact, just show them this segment celebrating the interview by ‘ET’s’ Nancy O’Dell. It makes clear:
1) That O’Dell asked the Obamas if the campaign bus is “comfortable.”
President Obama: “It is.”
O’Dell: “That’s a good thing.”
2) That O’Dell is so impressed with the Obama campaign: “You’ve done such a great job with social media and the campaign. How important do you think that plays? And do you actually use your BlackBerry?”
President Obama confirms use of a BlackBerry and iPad.
3) That O’Dell loves palling around with the president on the campaign trail. As she watches the president glad-handing at a pub, she turns to the camera with a big smile: “Some locals getting a nice visit from the president.”
4) That ‘ET’ folks are lacking a bit of self-awareness. In this celebratory segment, the show congratulates itself for breaking ground with its interview. O’Dell calls it a “sit-down which drew national media attention. . . . Our news-making campaign coverage, the talk of all three morning shows, airing on ‘CBS This Morning,’ ‘GMA’ and ‘Today.’. . . And spilling over onto Fox News and MSNBC. . .”
What the segment neglects to say is that the ‘ET’ interview got so much attention precisely everyone thought it was so weak. That was the news.
Cutter said on CNN that the president will “continue” going to such outlets. And why wouldn’t he? This, after all, is what O’Dell said in closing out the segment: “And certainly thank you to the president and the first lady. I certainly enjoyed the time I got to spend with them and their graciousness in giving us that inside look at their world.” Sounds like the start of an excellent partnership.