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Obama's Latest Career Triumph: TV-Critic-In-Chief
June 30, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 3 comments
 

President Barack Obama, politically speaking, is coming off a great week – but he also triumphed in an unexpected arena, as a very impassioned TV-Critic-In-Chief…

I’m not sure which is more surprising: That a sitting President has any time at all to watch television, or that the viewing selections made are so intelligent. But what may be most impressive of all is that when President Obama sees something on TV he really likes, he does what only TV critics usually get to do.

He arranges a personal interview to learn more, and to talk with the program’s creator in person.

Obama has done this, in recent years, with two people I interviewed shortly after POTUS did the same thing – which is like being the poster child for emotional letdowns.

Ken Burns, the filmmaker behind The Civil War and so many other powerful and important PBS documentaries, was invited by Obama to visit the White House and talk with him about history and race. More recently, David Simon, creator of HBO’s The Wire, sat with Obama to address similar issues, localized to Baltimore but still applicable nationwide. Obama prefaced the talk by identifying The Wire as his favorite TV show: “One of the greatest, not just television shows, but pieces of art in the past couple of decades,” Obama said.

And then the interview began – with the President of the United States not answering questions, but asking them.

Pretty astounding. And then, last week, we were treated to another example of Obama as TV-Critic-In-Chief, when he sat down to interview the best and most tenured TV naturalist in the world, Sir David Attenborough.

The talk took place on the day Attenborough turned 89, and lasted the better part of an hour. BBC America hastily slipped it onto the schedule last weekend, as it was being shown in the United Kingdom, and repeats it tonight (Tuesday, June 30) at 11 p.m. ET. Also, the entire program is now available for viewing on the BBC America website. It’s a remarkable thing to witness – as unexpected, revealing and interesting as Obama’s recent appearance on Marc Maron’s W.T.F. podcast.

Obama is interested in climate change, and Attenborough’s personal perspective on what is and isn’t happening, and his theories as to why. Attenborough, for example, recently dove by submersible to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – a dove he first took, with scuba gear, 60 years previously. And when Attenborough describes the changes, and man’s impact on the natural world around is, Obama listens, very intently.

As should we all…



 
 
 
 
 
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3 Comments
 
 
R.
As usual our Dear Socialist Leader Obama will not sit down or do a real challenging interview...then again today's "media" is just a bunch of shallow (not too smart), liberal-left wing, biased sycophants to Socialist Obama and his regime
Jul 10, 2015   |  Reply
 
NEIL MOBBERLY
hey!......can i have your social security, since you obviously won't be filing for it?
thanks in advance!
Jul 11, 2015
 
 
Javi
You forgot to end your run-on sentence with punctuation. But then again, I don't fault you for being illiterate.
Jul 11, 2015
 
 
 
Phil in Magnolia
I watched this show after seeing your recommendation, and to be honest I was a bit disappointed (unlike the Marc Maron interview, which was superb and revealing).

The majority of the show was a vanity exercise celebrating David Attenborough, not that he doesn't deserve it but I expected more serious conversation with President Obama. The number of commercials in the BBC America broadcast was also very large. When President Obama asked Attenborough if he thought we could reverse climate change, Attenborough responded that he felt that solar or renewable energy could completely supplant fossil fuels and basically turn around the global warming problem. It was a very casual answer to a serious question and while I would like to share Attenborough's confidence in such a possibility, it is so contrary to what most scientists and experts are saying, that I find it very hard to take seriously.
Jul 4, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
I think that may be the first time I've seen David Simon wear a tie.
Jun 30, 2015   |  Reply
 
David Bianculli
Ha! I think you're right, Alex... Me, too, now that I think of it.
Jul 2, 2015
 
 
 
 
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