- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 17, 2013) — On Thursday, February 14, Obama was scheduled to appear at a “Google Hangout” to answer questions submitted in advance about his State of the Union address and policies for his second term, with coverage to be provided by ABC News and other mainstream outlets.
The “Fireside Hangout” was scheduled for 4:50 p.m. that day and was reported to be a live stream. ABC had promised to “recap with reporting below afterward.” However, nothing appears below the purported video of the session.
A news outlet called “Breaking News” shows comments and tweets which perhaps preceded the session and is referenced several times in a search for coverage of the event. “Breaking News” shows four tweets, each from a mainstream media reporter, specifically, Chuck Todd of NBC; Mark Knoller of CBS News; Anthony DeRosa of Reuters; and Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC. The fifth tweet was not attributed to anyone and reads:
Obama, in Google hangout, ‘The president does not have the authority to do whatever he wants … under the guise of national security’ – from broadcast
On Thursday evening, this writer watched for live streaming of the event but could locate only the same empty video image as now appears in the ABC News column about the hangout. At some point that day, in an apparent change in its article abstract, ABC made a reference to “7:10 p.m.,” as if the hangout had been postponed:
The text of the article indicating the start time, however, remained at 4:50 p.m.
When clicking on the last tweet in the column posted by @verge, the viewer is brought to coverage posted by “The Verge,” purportedly of the Google hangout section, time-stamped “4:57 p.m.” that evening.
Modeled on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats,” the Google session between Obama and his guests was held in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The master of ceremonies, a Google employee, introduced several guests from various parts of the country and industries and stated that Obama had not seen the questions beforehand.
But why did ABC not cover it?
“Breaking News” was referenced numerous times in a general web search for the Google session, but mainstream media coverage was more difficult to find.
MSNBC shows a short segment at the end of the exchange and refers the viewer to its Facebook page for the substance of it. The Daily Beast carried a short segment wherein Obama defended his choice for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, who has been filibustered by the Senate.
CBS produced a summary of the hangout but no video, and, as in the case of CNN, it had to be specifically requested through a search.
TIME indicates that a video referencing the Fireside hangout is “private” despite the heading above it which reads, “Watch: President Obama’s Google Plus Hangout About the State of the Union.” TPM indicates the same in its embedded video referring to the event, as does TechCrunch.
Why is the video “private?”
Several mainstream reports still express the session as taking place in the future. Even Google itself leads the reader to a page with “hangouts” which have both already transpired or are yet to occur.
A website called tubefilter.com announced the hangout, stating that a John Green would be moderating the session. However, a different man identifying himself as “John Grove” moderated, as confirmed on the White House Google+ website. Tubefilter was clearly associated with the Obama presidential campaign and and displays the claim, “Barack Obama Watches the Vlogbrothers,” who are reportedly the founder of a YouTube channel.
The comments on the White House page are unmoderated and in some cases, obscene, as are some of the advertisements on the Vlogbrothers blog.
The hangout video appears on the White House YouTube channel and includes some personal conversations. One of the guests asks Obama to issue “an executive order” to men about Valentine’s Day, after which Obama tells her husband to “do the right thing” for his wife that evening.
Obama reportedly held a Fireside hangout after his 2012 State of the Union address during which “more than 227,000 people participated.” However, “participated” appears to mean “submitting questions for the President to answer or voting for their favorite.” This year, a reported 16,514 people submitted questions.
In 2009, a former Obama campaign communications director and admirer of Mao Tse Tung, Anita Dunn, claimed that the campaign had carefully controlled the information released to the media, thereby “controlling” it.
A Yahoo! news report states that after speaking in Atlanta, GA earlier that day, Obama arrived back in Washington “several hours before they left the White House together for the short ride to chef Jose Andres’ restaurant Minibar.” The photo accompanying the report does not show Obama and his wife, but rather, his speech on providing preschool services given in Atlanta. In 2009, a photo of the Obamas going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day was published, and in 2010, they reportedly spent Valentine’s Day at Camp David. Last year, Michelle said she wanted jewelry for Valentine’s Day.
The New York Daily News February 15 headline stated that “Obama’s share Valentine’s dinner, then take separate vacations over President’s Day weekend,” referring to Obama’s golf weekend in Florida and Michelle’s skiing weekend in Colorado with her daughters. Normally friendly to the Obama regime, the Daily News concluded:
As the Web site White House dossier noted, the separate vacationing means that while massive automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect March 1, taxpayers will be shelling out for two first family vacations, and all the security and logistical costs those entail.