On Monday, Hank Green, one of the YouTube viral video stars chosen to interview President Obama after the State of the Union address, wrote what millions of Americans have said for a week: “Bethany Mota, Glozell Green, and I got an opportunity that a lot of people don’t think we deserved.”
Correct. Because it is humiliating to have a woman most famous for swimming around in a tub of Froot Loops and doing the cinnamon challenge asking the president about the po-po. And it is odd for a man most famous for creating a video titled “14 Fart Facts For My Flatulent Friends” to be quizzing the commander-in-chief. And it is cringe-inducing for the president of the United States to sit down for serious question with a 19-year-old famous for do-it-yourself fashion tips.
But Hank Green, he of the flatulent friends, thinks that it shows the glories of the White House that they will sit the president down, face-to-face, with this woman.
We’re all pretty different people with different audience demographics and styles of video-making. In fact, I want to shout out to Google for making sure a diverse group of people headed to the White House for this opportunity. They would have caught a lot less flak from the press if they’d used creators who fit into the established idea of what an “engaged American” looks like. Diversity was clearly a goal, but there is one thing we all have in common:
We are ourselves.
Whoop-de-doo. So is my one-year-old baby. She’s herself when she’s cute, and she’s herself when she poops her diaper. This does not make her qualified to interview the president of the United States.
But “being yourself” is now the great standard of virtue. So Hank Green couldn’t be prouder of the White House:
This is, of course, why the White House opened its doors to us. They want to connect with that diverse audience and they want that connection to be sympathetic. Since they’re getting an undeniable benefit out of engaging with us, we were asked to not go easy on the President.
The White House has never – ever – asked for tough questions. They may have asked for more topical questions, as opposed to what the president does in his spare time (watch Sports Center, he told Mota), but the notion that Obama wanted a grilling from YouTube stars boggles the mind.
Green goes on to suggest that the White House is simply doing its best to civically engage young people by catering to stupidity:
I may be biased here, but I feel like there’s an actual and honorable goal in all of this. America needs to convince young people that there are good reasons to be civically involved. Millenials are soon to be the biggest hunk of the electorate and, if the mid-terms are any indication, they simply don’t care. And that shouldn’t be surprising since no one is connecting to them in the ways they connect with each other or talking about issues that matter to them from perspectives they can identify with.
Instead of educating young people, presumably the president should introduce all his new policy initiatives by singing Taylor Swift tunes.
Then Green spills his real reason – not the self-sacrificing mumbo-jumbo – on why he did the interview: “I got to interview the freaking President.” Yes, surely the Obama administration anticipated hardball questions from this warrior for the youth.
But Green goes on to lecture the media about their political biases mere sentences after typing with one hand about Obama:
Fox News functions so successfully as an arm of the Republican Party because the news used to be an unassailable fortress of legitimacy. Walter Cronkite wasn’t representing a political ideology… Cable news today uses the residual legitimacy of that bygone era (that they are simultaneously destroying) to degrade the legitimacy of their political opponents… There is nothing actually legitimate about Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter) and young people know this.
Clearly, Green knows significantly less about media history than farting. Cronkite was wildly political, and his opposition to the Vietnam War ended in him personally converting the Tet Offensive into a major American defeat in the public mind rather than a crippling Viet Cong defeat (which it actually was).
But Green thinks he is the essence of journalism. He is objectivity embodied. He is the people:
The source of our legitimacy is the very different from their coiffed, Armani institutions. It springs instead (and I’m aware that I’m abandoning any modicum of modesty here) from honesty. In new media this is often called “authenticity” because our culture is too jaded to use a big fat word like “honesty” without our gallbladders clogging up, but that’s really what it is.
Assume all of this is true. Shouldn’t Green have stopped testing President Obama’s balls for underinflation for just a moment? He completed his interview by asking his interview subject for an autograph. And this is our new, brutally honest media?
To the people who have criticized me for getting Obama to sign something for me, or Glozell for saying the word “dick,” or Bethany for saying that she isn’t very involved in politics, there’s something you need to understand: Our legitimacy springs exclusively from honesty. I have to be who I am. I have to act the way I feel like acting, or I am lying to my audience.
If Green wants to play the voice of honesty, that’s fine. But then he should stop whining that he’s truly objective when he writes sycophantic and pathetic lines like this:
Yes, I was absolutely committed to asking real, hard questions. Questions that break out of the news cycle and come wrapped in context beyond ‘gotcha’ moments and political spin. I asked questions that my audience wanted answers to and questions that I wanted answered, not questions that would best serve one or the other political party. But, I wasn’t going to walk away from a man who has gotten nothing but grief for a health care bill that has made my life immensely easier without saying, “Thanks.”
After bashing the media for becoming tools of established political parties, Green finishes by saying he’ll willingly become a tool of established leftist institutions and politicians:
If Google and the White House want to use me as a pawn to counteract this bullshit, sign me up.
Finally, a moment of true honesty. He is a pawn. But he’s the pawn that roared. Or at least farted.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.