In still one more example of Hollywood shilling for president Obama, “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe recently asked Obama to appear on the show and sing. Obama sang “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater recently, and Lythgoe tweeted, “We loved your vocal performance so much we’d love to invite you on to #American Idol this Season for a duet with Al Green.” The White House apparently didn’t respond. So last night, on the show, the producers mashed up Obama singing the song from the Apollo with American Idol finalist Elise Testone doing the same. How is this not an in-kind contribution to the Obama campaign?
Obama has consorted with Hollywood to make himself ubiquitous for years. He appeared on Comedy Central with Jon Stewart just a week before the 2010 elections. His appearance on “The View” in July of 2011, just after there was an unprecedented leak of documents about the war in Afghanistan, was the first appearance of any sitting president on a daytime TV talk show. He has appeared more than once with Jay Leno, sat with David Letterman in 2009, and routinely shown up in the midst of major sporting events, from the Super Bowl to Major League Baseball’s All-Star game. He has appeared on ESPN in order to display his Final Four picks.
In contrast, President George W. Bush, continually lampooned by Hollywood, never appeared on major TV entertainment shows as a camouflage for campaigning. But Obama’s obsession with being seen and heard has been well known for years: a study by Towson University professor Martha Kumar showed that Obama had done 114 media interviews after his first seven months in office, about three times more than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at the same point in their tenures. If Hollywood has its way, Obama won’t need to buy campaign commercials – he’ll just book himself on every show in primetime.