Thursday at the White House press briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest took questions about President Barack Obama’s plan, following his State of the Union address, to have live streaming video interviews with YouTube celebrities Bethany Mota, GoZell Green, and Hank Green.
Reporter: “I know you announced before the briefing that the president is going to be doing these YouTube interviews or YouTube interview with several different people after the State of Union address, and just noticing that these folks who are going to be conducting these interviews are not professional journalists. They’re people who post videos on YouTube. I’m just curious, was ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ or ‘David After Dentist’ not available?”
Reporter: “Follow-up on the Jim’s question earlier about after the State of the Union. The White House will be hosting here with YouTube content creators. You know, Jim was asking because these people are not journalists, but there’s also a question of propriety and what kind of audience the president is trying to reach. You said earlier the president is trying to reach a large number of people, but you and I are both wearing pants. The people here are properly attired. Some of these videos, people are wearing less than full clothing. They’re doing ridiculous things. These are the people that are being invited to the White House to interview the president. They are not just not journalists. They’re also in the business in a different way, a Zach Galifianakis way, for example. Obviously the president thinks this something he should be doing, but what is the message the president is sending by inviting those people to the White House?
Earnest, “I do, I will hazard a guess that I do expect all the people who participate in these interviews will be appropriate, respectful of the president and the office of the presidency. And I do think that we consider this to be a unique and interesting way for the president to discuss some of the priorities he will talk about in the State of the Union. It should be interesting.”
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