I remain troubled by President Obama’s decision to introduce, and thus to endorse and sell, the History Channel’s “America: the Story of Us,” whose first two of twelve hours aired on Sunday night. The President’s remarks were banal — descriptions of our country’s strength as resting with its people, etc. — and ended simply with his encouraging us to “enjoy the show.” Nevertheless, the intro brought an unusual mix of excitement and gravitas to the proceedings. The President’s being part of the show made the venture seem a momentous, public-spirited event.
Obama thus lent himself — more importantly to me, lent his office — to a commercial production with a deeply interested narrative on the most elemental national matters, a production whose ends are not necessarily in any way in keeping with the purposes of that office. Just by showing up, and even more so by being fulsome, he gives a TV show an aura of national importance. Why do that? Continue reading