I didn’t expect to enjoy President Obama’s sit-down interview with YouTube stars Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green, first because before today I couldn’t name a “YouTube star” to save my life, and second, because of a variety of rapid-fire thoughts involving things like gravitas and Presidential and I’d like to see more of Jake Tapper on my screen, TBH.

Of course, I saw this news at the same time I was seeing reports of Yemen burning to the ground, so maybe I was a little irritated that this was taking up space on my wire. I didn’t care. I was worried about real issues.

As it turns out, so were Hank, GloZell, and Bethany.


Was it “journalism?” We can fight about that all day, but I don’t think it matters, because it worked. Hank Green peppered the President with questions, but he pulled it off well and I didn’t feel like his Obamacare PSA ruined it (even though I groaned and yelled OH OF COURSE YOU DID HANK because, predictable.) GloZell Green calls Castro a dick at 22:07, which is inappropriate in almost any scenario, but she moved on and asked Obama a question about Cuba. (Then she accidentally called the First Lady the President’s “first wife,” which was hilarious and human.) Bethany Mota made 19 look smart, which is hard to do with the Justin Biebers of the world running around making 19 look mind-numbingly stupid. (She also asked about Boko Haram, which is more than I can say about most MSM outlets.)

Were they nervous? Yes, they were. Did their questions occasionally meander? Yes, they did. Do they lean farther left than I ever could? Yes, I think they do. But as I watched them work through their interviews, I couldn’t help but think back to the last time an interview by Katie Couric or Brian Williams made me care about what the President had to say.

I couldn’t think of one example. I can’t say that I cared deeply about the President’s answers in these interviews, either, but that’s mostly because I knew exactly what his answers were going to be when asked questions about the issues that tend to get younger people moving—gay marriage, cost of education, race relations, etc.

Was it a stunt? Of course it was a stunt. They arranged this as an effort to reach out and touch people who engage with mediums that aren’t called NBCCBSABCFOXMSNBCCNN. But it was a brilliant stunt because it put the more-hostile-than-they-were-six-years-ago MSM in its place while turning the dial up on the White House’s cool factor and creating the illusion of accessibility.

I may not have agreed with the progressive tone of the questions and answers, but what I will say is that, at least in my opinion, Hank, GloZell, and Bethany did a better job making the President look like a human being who cares about his country than the Katies and the Brians of the world could ever hope to do.

That should light a fire under the butts of the consultants and activists who think developing modern outreach strategies for conservatives is a waste of time, eh?


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