President Obama was interviewed by three popular YouTube video bloggers (vloggers) on Thursday, Hank Green, GloZell Green, and Bethany Mota. They received almost one hour of the president’s coveted time.
Who are these vloggers that merited such distinction? These are vloggers with a combined reach of over 15 million YouTube viewers.
It wasn’t long before the attacks on the president began for bringing three vloggers into the White House. "Megan, I am not some old media curmudgeon saying Obama shouldn’t go on Helen, The View, or Colbert," Fox News Howard Kurtz said. "He’s got a good sense of humor. It’s a political asset. But it just seemed beneath the dignity of the office to be hanging out with some of these YouTubers."
Kurtz seemed upset that Hank Green thanked the president for Obamacare and that Bethany Mota thought his answers were awesome. "Maybe this is how the president wants the press corps to act around him," Kurtz said. Fox News’ Megan Kelly continued to complain that Yemen is imploding while the president is sitting down for an interview with Glozell. She was concerned that the optics was wrong.
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"The State of the Union is a serious policy speech," Kurtz said. "This looks like Obama was just going to the D-list Hollywood after-party. If he was serious about getting some of the proposals in the speech—the tax hike on the rich, the spending program, free community college through Congress—he would be working the mainstream media. But he doesn’t think any of that is going to pass."
Kurtz must live in an alternate state of reality. How effective was the traditional mainstream media in being an unbiased arbiter to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) debate or the stimulus debate, or any other debate of consequence to everyday Americans?
Does he really believe that the traditional mainstream media is a conduit of truth? It is not. During the debate on Obamacare, the traditional mainstream media was an instrument used to drive its favorability numbers down. The traditional media gave plausibility to the lies that Obamacare had death panels and would be a government takeover of health care.
During subsequent debates for more middle-class centric policies, the traditional mainstream media was derelict in its duty to inform Americans about the decimation of European economies by austerity policies, policies are promoted by right-wing ideologues. The traditional mainstream media gave little coverage to the economic fraud conducted by renowned economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. Traditional media refused to report all the research that showed that trickle-down economics is a failed economic model.
President Obama gave the traditional mainstream media carte blanche for six years. They failed to report truthfully, accurately, and in an unbiased manner. The president decided to remove a level of indirection to get his message out. No longer will the traditional mainstream media get first dibs. These vloggers and bloggers will no longer be solely dependent on the traditional media's colored interpretation.
The three vloggers the president chose seemed odd at first. Most of their stuff seem goofy, silly, or nerdy. After giving it a second look, it just may be genius. The audience of these three vloggers is likely to be less engaged than most ideologues on all sides. The president is reaching out to that audience via that audience's trusted conduits. He is laying the foundation for his middle-class economics to be explored without the filter of a derelict traditional mainstream media.
Many wondered why the president took so long to visibly display his full-throated support for net neutrality. No one needs to wonder anymore as he finally did so unequivocally. Using social media, vloggers, and bloggers to get his message out requires all have full unadulterated access to the internet.
Ultimately, the president is effecting a paradigm shift. He is unshackling us all from a type of slavery to the traditional mainstream media. He is providing "average citizen-centric" information dispersal, ensuring that the future of news is ultimately controlled by you. We must take this and show America that it works by doing our part. Get the news out through all of your channels. Make the corporately controlled traditional mainstream media irrelevant for being derelict to journalism and derelict to us all.