Vox: Pander-boys for Obama
Well, at least no green lipstick was involved this time but the Juicebox Mafia interview with Barack Obama amounted to the same quality of “journalism”.
Back in the days before the site launched, Vox’s founder Ezra Klein promised his site would let all of us plebeians “understand the news” in a better, richer way.
If Vox’s recent interview—er, “conversation”—with President Barack Obama by Klein and Matthew Yglesias is any indication, the tutorial being offered isn’t about explicating difficult or arcance topics so that even dummies (read: you and me, dear readers) can fake our way through a dinner party.
No, what Vox teaches is how to sit on the knee of power and divine what our rulers really mean to say and why it’s such a goddanged good and smart and sharp idea.
Good grief that was an awful interview by just about anyone’s standard. Usually when you’re in the tank for someone and you’re conducting an interview, you at least try to hide it a bit.
Gillespie shares another take from Jack Shafer at POLITICO (and if that organization is smacking down Vox for the interview, you know it had to be so disgustingly obvious that even they had to comment):
See for yourself how little meat the hungry press corps was able to scrape from the bones of the Vox interview. CNN: “Obama ‘hopeful’ about partisanship, race relations”; Bloomberg: “Obama Says Wealth Accumulation Speaks to Need for Tax Shift”; National Journal: “In Vox Interview, Obama Sets Limits on What a President Can Accomplish”; Politico: “Barack Obama: Get rid of ‘routine use’ of legislative filibuster.”…
In the example of Klein and Yglesias, they’re less interested in interviewing Obama than they are in explaining his policies. Again and again, they serve him softball—no, make that Nerf ball—questions and then insert infographics and footnotes that help advance White House positions. Vox has lavished such spectacular production values on the video version of the Obama interview—swirling graphics and illustrations, background music (background music!?), aggressive editing, multiple camera angles—that the clips end up looking and sounding like extended commercials for the Obama-in-2016 campaign. I’ve seen subtler Scientology recruitment films.
The last line is classic – Scientology – more subtle than Vox (and more believable).
Meanwhile, Obama continues the perpetual campaign while dodging any interviews of significance.