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Obama turns to '60 Minutes.' Who is he trying to reach now?

President Obama's postelection media strategy seems to pull back from the edgy with an appearance on the tried-and-true '60 Minutes.' Some say the move makes sense.

By Staff writer / November 5, 2010

A preview of President Obama's full interview sneaked onto CBS's 'Early Show' Friday, and the full chat will run Sunday night. screengrab


President Obama’s post-“shellacking” media strategy is a far cry from the new-media crawl he undertook in the last weeks of the mid-term election cycle.

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Rather than popping onto yet another morning radio talk show or hanging out with one more comedian, the commander-in-chief is turning to the tried and true, taping a sit-down, one-on-one interview with “60 Minutes” veteran Steve Kroft.

A preview of Mr. Obama’s full interview sneaked onto CBS’s “Early Show” Friday, and the full chat will run Sunday night.

So, what gives? Is he stiff-arming the younger demographic he so yearned to rouse with his walk on the Facebook/Twitter side? Or is he just taking what has been the presidential media path of choice for some four decades?

Gold standard

“This is the gold standard of TV journalism,” says author Ari Berman (“Herding Donkeys”). It makes sense for Obama to turn to an outlet with the reach and gravitas of the longest-running news magazine on the air, he says, noting that the hard news format still garners strong ratings, despite its longevity.

So, Mr. Berman adds, in an effort to reach out to the widest swath of the American public in the wake of his party’s trouncing, this avenue makes much more sense than the small, niche outlets he was tapping in the waning days of the election.

Beyond the prestigious imprimatur bestowed by the valuable Sunday night real estate, Mr. Kroft is a natural choice for the president, says Edward Klein, co-author of the satiric novel, “The Obama Identity.”

“It is hardly coincidental that the first person he chose for a sit-down interview after the drubbing his party took at the polls was Steve Kroft because Steve had been very close to the Obama campaign during the primaries and the general election,” he says, adding that given their history, the president could expect a “friendly interlocutor” on the show.


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