Last night, Jimmy Fallon had Barack Obama on his alleged show to “slow-jam the news.” What is “slow-jamming the news”? Apparently, it’s Barack Obama looking into camera and reading a campaign speech, while Jimmy Fallon, looking as uncomfortable as his audience surely is, does a Barry White voice. Hilarity does not ensue.
But there’s another point to be made here. Since when is a president reading a campaign speech “slow-jamming the news”? It’s not news coverage – it’s propaganda. That’s what presidential speeches are. But according to NBC and Fallon, Obama reading a speech is actually objective news coverage.
And here to help him with his objective news coverage were Fallon and band leader Questlove, most famous recently for playing “Lying Ass Bitch” as Michele Bachmann appeared on the alleged show. “You should listen to the president!” Questlove blasted in the midst of Obama’s student loan agitprop.
This, of course, was not news. But NBC has to maintain that it is news, since it was clearly not an interview, and it was not even a comedy routine – and only if it’s actual news coverage is it exempted from relevant campaign finance law.
But the fact that Fallon could say with a straight face that this was “slow-jamming the news” says everything about NBC’s view of what constitutes news: Obama saying things, NBC backing him up, and somebody in the background piping up, “You should listen to the president!”