Obama on 'Daily Show': Will Jon Stewart make fun of him?(Read article summary)
President Obama is appearing on 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' because that's where the young voters are, the White House says. The appearance is Wednesday night.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
President Obama is appearing on â€śThe Daily Showâ€ť on Wednesday night. Itâ€™s a fake news program produced by Comedy Central, remember â€“ so will host Jon Stewart make fun of Americaâ€™s chief executive to his face?
No. At least, weâ€™re 98 percent certain that he wonâ€™t.
Reason No. 1: Mr. Stewart is kind of, sort of, liberal-leaning. In a restrained â€śRally to Restore Sanityâ€ť way.
Reason No. 2: It would be rude, and he would never have a chance to interview a top Democrat again. And that would be a bummer, since his show is in Washington all week, and you can spend only so much time at the Smithsonian looking at Archie Bunkerâ€™s chair and Judy Garlandâ€™s ruby slippers.
Reason No. 3: Comedy hosts, even comedy hosts who are trusted sources of actual news for millions of Americans, generally donâ€™t ask tough questions in face-to-face interviews, no matter how unrestrained their other material is. Paradoxically, this is because they often try to prove theyâ€™re not just clowns. So they ask detailed questions from the talking points provided by staff, along the lines of, â€śIsnâ€™t the presidentâ€™s small-business bill designed to stimulate infrastructure investment? And if so, how?â€ť
Perhaps they want to prove they can have a conversation about policy. David Letterman does this. Jay Leno does this. Stewart does this. (Stephen Colbert does not â€“ heâ€™s an outlier. Heâ€™ll force an arms-control expert to pick the one country heâ€™d nuke, if he had to nuke one.)
Sure, then theyâ€™ll build some kind of shtick off the policy bit. Stewart did this Monday when he talked to White House economist Austan Goolsbee about the aforementioned small-business legislation. He ended up comparing Mr. Goolsbee to Braveheart, and Stewart recalled in his younger days how he had to apologize for what his friends did in bars.
But in some ways, presidential appearances on non-news shows can produce more-interesting insights than news interviews. In our opinion.
Mr. Obama himself is not concerned that appearing on a show that is supposed to be funny will detract from the seriousness of what he has to say, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Asked on Tuesday whether the president is worried about mixing entertainment and politics, Mr. Gibbs replied, â€śJon Stewart is sort of past that,â€ť with the implication being that Stewart is fully aware of the odd quasi-journalist position he occupies.
Why is Obama doing the show at all? Because thatâ€™s where the voters are. In particular, thatâ€™s where the young voters are, Gibbs said.
â€śThe president hasnâ€™t been shy about going to the places where people are getting their information and trying to make his case. And I think thatâ€™s what heâ€™ll do on the [Stewart] show,â€ť said Gibbs.