President Obama Wednesday called US soccer team members to congratulate them on their performance during the World Cup.
But this is not just a congratulatory call. This is a White House PR stunt designed to connect Obama to the semi-mania surrounding the US soccer team and its goalie, Tim Howard.
It appears the press was excluded from the call, which Obama made to Howard and team captain Clint Dempsey. The camera, at least on Obama’s side, is operated by a White House cameraman.
The camera is handheld, providing a false cinéma vérité-feel that makes Obama seem more approachable than a formal press “pool spray” would. Someone is even permitted to walk in front of the shot at the outset. The president is humanized, while the press must cool its heels.
And of course, no one shouts an uncomfortable question.
It’s White House moviemaking. Propaganda that no doubt was picked up by many press outlets, which may or may not have flagged this as a White House production.
Obama Wednesday also met with a group of economists. No press access permitted.