And that’s putting it mildly — unlike the reaction from St. Paul Pioneer Press sportswriter Kevin Cusick. He put together a slideshow of images from Barack Obama’s BuzzFeed photo shoot for the Pioneer Press website, with one caption noting that a selfie stick was “a fool-proof way to make yourself look like a self-absorbed assclown.” The story got picked up by local Minneapolis-St. Paul Fox affiliate KMSP, in turned picked up today by the Washington Post:
The off-color remark came in the context of the PiPress’s “Loop Ten” feature, which is a slideshow that serves as sports producer Kevin Cusick’s “daily countdown of the top newsmakers, groundbreakers and world-class fakers.”
Clocking in at a tie for number three in today’s installment was “selfies.” That entry is accompanied by an image of Obama holding a selfie stick in an apparent effort to take a photo of himself.
That’s all well and good, but where Cusick got himself in trouble was with the text below the image.
“A fool-proof way to make yourself look like a self-absorbed assclown,” it said.
Later, though, Cusick apologized for his word choice:
“After further review, it’s a poor choice of word,” Cusick said in an email to KMSP. “I must have been in an especially foul mood last night. I’ve toned it down a bit.”
Perhaps the selfie stick interest is understandable, but not so much Obama’s choice of venues for his interviews of late, according to Detroit News editorialist Ingrid Jacques. Even she had to admit that it worked as a strategy, but lamented the degradation of the office:
Could there be anything less presidential than BuzzFeed? Apparently not to President Barack Obama.
Last week, in an attempt to persuade more young people to sign up for Obamacare, the president made a silly video for the news and entertainment site.
Obama is featured making funny faces in a mirror, fiddling with a selfie stick, doodling a picture of the first lady, and saying “yolo.”
On the other hand, Jacques notes, the BuzzFeed interview was part of the PR campaign for the final days of ObamaCare open enrollment. The video got 43 million views, so … mission accomplished, right? Perhaps, but Jacques doesn’t sound terribly impressed with BuzzFeed, Obama, or the audience that ate this up.
However, that horse bolted the barn in 2012, did it not? In that cycle, conservatives joined with some White House correspondents to criticize Obama and his team for running away from substantive interviews in favor of softballs from entertainment outlets. Jake Tapper even led a brief rebellion over the issue, which pushed Obama into becoming a little more available to White House correspondents just before the general election started in earnest. Most of us thought it would show Obama as — well, not an “assclown” so much as a man afraid to face a little tough questioning. Instead, Obama managed to reach low-enthusiasm voters and get them to turn out, even as others sat on their hands in the general election. That likely made the difference between a second Obama term and President Mitt Romney.
Thus we have the strategy for ObamaCare as well: to entertain the masses enough to get them to pay attention and do what Obama wants them to do. The optics may annoy people who consider the presidency to be above that sort of nonsensical Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous genre, but the results have spoken for themselves. If that’s what it takes, then the “assclowns” are the ones who respond to the strategy, and not those who craft it to get the response.