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Culture Beat / June 10, 2016

Obama — The ‘Serious’ President

Using the frivolity of pop culture to advance his agenda.

In his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” Thursday, Barack Obama put his eight years of “accomplishments” to song as he, Fallon and house band The Roots slow jammed the news. Obama jammed, “In short, climate change is real, health care is affordable and love is love.” (That last one referencing the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage).

The skit wasn’t the first time — nor will it be the last — where Obama plugged for Hillary Clinton and used his bully pulpit to attack the Republican nominee. Fallon asked Obama during the skit, “Mr. President, since you’re here, I’ve got to ask you, have you been watching all the election coverage this week about Donald Trump?”

Obama replied, “No, but I have been watching my new favorite show, ‘Orange Is Not the New Black.’”

Just a month ago, Obama attacked Donald Trump by saying the reality TV personality is not fit for the job of commander in chief. “We are in serious times, and this is a really serious job,” Obama mused. “This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States.”

Yet Obama has used the frivolity of pop culture to advance his agenda, from schmoozing with YouTube stars to prancing around the White House with a selfie stick. These may be serious times, but Obama doesn’t see it as beneath him to engage in a little spectacle to reach the masses with his propaganda.

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