Comedy as a buffer against criticism
The entire world is in flames, but never fear—President Barack Obama is busy doing the sort of work that keeps America safe.
You know, by sitting down for a 20 minute interview with a comedian.
Obama’s last interview with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart went just as you’d expect: cheeky, wordy, and full of the sort of backhanded insults that keep the 24 hour news cycle spinning.
You can watch the full interview here:
(The interview is cut up into three segments—you’ll be able to skip to the other segments at the end of the embedded video.)
Climate change. Iran. Those damn Republicans.
Stewart didn’t stay away from the controversial topics dominating the news cycle, but as usual, Obama was able to spin his answers into a web of total nonsense. During perhaps the most sensational chunk of the interview, the President backtracked on over a year of messaging on the IRS scandal by—you guessed it—passing the buck.
From the Washington Times:
President Obama defended the IRS Tuesday in an interview with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, saying the tea party-targeting scandal was actually Congress‘ fault for passing “a crummy law” and that the real problem is the agency doesn’t have enough money.
Mr. Obama, who has overseen a series of scandals at the IRS, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the Office of Personnel Management, was asked why government didn’t seem to be working on his watch.
But the president said he’s not to blame, using the IRS as an example of how what went wrong wasn’t his fault, and questioning whether tea party groups were ever targeted.
Of course, we know all this to be a bold faced lie. Not only is evidence mounting that top Administration officials knew exactly what was happening at the IRS, the very fact that the agency is finding any and all excuse to not cooperate tells anyone with a brain that they are hiding something. Even if you assume, just for the sake of argument, that the IRS has done nothing wrong, any executive worth his salt would still take these people to task for not complying and making everyone attached to the scandal look guilty as sin.
In the second segment, Obama makes much of his struggle with the media, accusing journalists of becoming “distracted by shiny objects” and not focusing on what matters most to the Administration. He complains about operating in soundbites, but really, who is the one creating the soundbites?
There is indeed a lack of “common conversation” about hot button issues in American society, but the Administration is just as responsible as the media for that.
Here lies the pernicious nature of Obama’s forays into the popular media culture. I fully support high profile politicians talking with nontraditional outlets, but as a conservative, I also recognize the need to hold Obama accountable for the content of those interviews. Using Jon Stewart’s megaphone is a brilliant strategic play because it allows the administration to normalize and downplay dangerous situations like the ones we’re seeing in places like Iran and Yemen. Comedy is a good buffer, but in this case, it’s being used to make discussion and criticism of these controversial issues look ridiculous.
That’s all the Obama Administration needs at this point. If they can shut down criticism, and make the President’s opponents look unhinged as opposed to engaged and concerned, they’re one step closer to winning the war…and the next election.
h/t Steven CrowderDONATE
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