Friday, March 20, 2009

The Fine Line Between Politics and Entertainment ***Updated***

Politicians LOOK like celebrities. They're famous, after all, and you see them on television all the time. There are whole cable channels devoted to political news, and whole cable channels devoted to entertainment. It's an easy mistake to make. But you want to avoid a remark like this if you're, say, the president.

...for all the obvious reasons. The thing is it makes perfect sense in the context of a talk show. If you're a movie star famous for bowling badly, you'll probably get a couple of piqued letters from Special Olympics reps. If you're the President, it dominates the news cycle for a day and makes people who say you use teleprompters too much demand that you use teleprompters more.

Can't we please say the late-night talk shows are off limits to people running for, or holding, public office? At least, off the entertainment shows. If a show is not entertaining, like Larry King's, it's okay.

I'm also fine with keeping politicians off ESPN. Come to think of it, maybe the problem is SPORTS and politics.

***UPDATE*** In the comments section I think I say something about these talk show appearances benefitting no one, but that's not true. Talk shows benefit.


wamk said...

Maybe the problem is with the Politician himself, and not the shows he's on.

Danielk said...

I know your problem is with the politician himself. But arguably John McCain did himself no favors with his Letterman appearances last year. When all is said and done, politicians shouldn't attempt comedy.

Except for Al Franken, who has a track record.

wamk said...

President John McCain?

Al Franken? I bet more people saw "An American Carol" than "Stuart Smalley"..

Danielk said...

I'm not advocating that Presidents avoid the entertainment shows, I'm advocating that ALL POLITICIANS do it. It's a minefield that serves no good purpose. I wouldn't have a problem with Daily Show or Real Time shots, because those are political commentary shows that happen to be funnier than most. Ditto to Rush's daily talkfest.

Yeah, you're probably right about American Carol, but that's a wrestling match between dwarves.

Publius said...

I would not have done Leno were I him. Then again, I would also not do the stupid roast ting were I president, so I feel he got THAT one right. I think all that crap is beneath the office of the president.