Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Making of a Celebrity President

Behind a Pop-Culture Icon Is a White House That Figures Selling the Man Will Help Sell His Policies


In the past 100 days Americans have watched Barack Obama drink a beer at a Washington Wizards game. They have seen him give the queen of England an iPod and thank Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie for her rendition of the national anthem. They've laughed (or groaned) at the jokes he cracked with late-night talk-show host Jay Leno.

All these may seem like the usual personal tidbits that the public demands from its pop-culture icons. But Mr. Obama's stardom is no chance obsession. It's part of a White House media strategy to pitch the president as a person ... and then sell his policies. The idea evolved from the campaign, when chief strategist David Axelrod led an effort to get voters comfortable with a little-known, biracial candidate who spent his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia.

The White House press team has worked to familiarize the country with Barack Obama -- how he meddles in the first lady's fashion choices; treats himself to "some mean waffles and grits" for breakfast, according to Mrs. Obama; and enjoys watching his young daughters feast on a supply of Starburst candy on board the Marine One helicopter.

To get this message across, the White House has granted wide access to nontraditional media outlets that include celebrity publications, entertainment television shows, and publications and radio programs targeted at African-American or Hispanic audiences. The stories that appear in these outlets quickly filter up to the mainstream press and often drive the news -- or at least the water-cooler chatter of the day.

To Read The Rest Of The Article - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124096378406566133.html

No comments:

Post a Comment