Should Obama stay off Leno?

Reader JD put a good question to me the other day regarding Obama’s appearance on Leno: is he taking Presidential access too casually?

It was certainly a little strange to see a Presidential entrance accompanied by a talk-show band version of Hail to the Chief. On the other hand, as a candidate these kinds of appearances are almost expected in order to get messages out to the “real America” (i.e., tv viewers). Once the race is over and the President is in office, why should this channel of communication be closed?

I wrote eons ago that candidates were mastering a wide range of new outreach mechanism, from talk shows to social media. The trend is carrying on, as the White House website now features just about every communication vehicle imaginable, and every step that’s been taken points to a commitment to transparency and accessibility. Plain and simple, this administration wants everyone to understand…everything.

For that reason I have no problem with the Leno appearance, although he obviously needs to stay on message and away from the Special Olympics jokes.


3 Responses to “Should Obama stay off Leno?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It’s a little bit self congratulating on my part, but when he talks about the legal calculation made in the AIG situation, he’s really saying that the court of law must take a back seat to the court of public opinion, which is where PR people are the best counsel. Damn lawyers!

  2. Evan Zall Says:

    Absolutely; we’re in the Age of Image right now, and trust in brand is being determined by how quickly companies are moving to aid the greater good…or, in AIG’s case, reward (for some reason) the cogs in an exposed and broken system.

    Would Madoff be facing 150 years in prison in 2004?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I think he should stay off Leno and similar shows simply because there’s no reason for the president of the USA to be talking to Jay Leno. If hamming it up with Leno on the couch can be considered a reasonable or worthy “communication vehicle” for the president of the USA, then America truly is dumber than we fear.

    Likewise, it might be a good idea for said president to stay away from tacitly endorsing illegal college sports gambling by touting his NCAA brackets on ESPN. I mean, the only reason any of us fill out these brackets is to win money betting on the games of children, right? Glad to see the president playing along.

    I agree that last year “candidates were mastering a wide range of new outreach mechanism, from talk shows to social media”. Unfortunately, it is no longer 2008, and appearances like these are really not appropriate for a man who swapped his “candidate” title for one that demands just a wee bit more outward public professionalism and responsibility.

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