Columnist says Obama’s presidency “is in danger of becoming” a reality show

In a recent New York Times column, David Carr argues that party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi “weren’t so much invading the Obamas’ privacy as trying to grab some of the abundant media limelight already there.”

He also says that because Barack Obama’s administration’s approach to information distribution consists of a “hulking, media-rich Web site, its Facebook page, photo galleries and podcasts on iTunes, the presidency seems less threatened by the incursion of a reality show than running an administration that is in danger of becoming one,” and that “the Obama administration may be guilty of a very contemporary common offense: Oversharing.”

Carr quotes reality producer and former VH1 executive Michael Hirschorn, who says, “When he ran, the Obamas were pitched as kind of a reality show to the public. We’d hear about his dinners with Michelle and we felt like we knew them. But now that he is in office, there is a danger of the mystique going away. The problem with social media and constant video is that it flows like water and reduces everything to the same level. Not much of it is special, and it all becomes content, even if it’s the president.”

All of this is interesting, but doesn’t seem like anything new, it’s just manifesting itself in new ways, like on Facebook and Twitter. In any case, I don’t think obviously well-controlled things like The White House’s web site, Flickr account, or Facebook page constitute oversharing, even if it’s more information than we’ve had in the past.

Oversharing is an iPhone video of Michelle Duggar in her hospital bed that she sends to a network for it to post on its web site and alert the media about, not the photographs that tell us more about what our president is doing.

Reality TV’s Glare Hits High Office [New York Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.