MSNBC Contributor Touts Obama’s ‘Justin Bieber Numbers’ on Funny Or Die Video

On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt on MSNBC, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times showed that she is one of the many liberal media members entranced by President Obama’s appearance on the Web series Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Witt asked about those who criticized the president for demeaning the office by going on the show, and Sweet let it be known that she didn’t agree with the critics.

The D.C. bureau chief for the president's hometown paper proclaimed:


Obama sacrificed maybe a smidgen, ephemeral bit of dignity for something far more important in his legacy, which is getting young people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, to sign up for this health insurance.
 

If that line didn’t make it clear that Sweet is in the president’s corner, she then directly challenged Mr. Obama’s critics. “So I think the critics -- if that's the best they have, you know, bring it on,” she taunted.

Moments later, Witt asked, “Lynn, is there even really a contest as to which party better reaches young voters?” That loaded question gave Sweet an opening to fawn over Obama’s supposed youthfulness. She swooned:
 

The Democrats are fortunate that the president is younger, he's hipper, he’s into cultural references. He can do shtick like -- he can do shtick that can bring millions of hits on videos. You know, he's into Justin Bieber numbers here on this one particular video.
 

Interestingly, Sweet never said who Obama is younger and hipper than. Is the 52-year-old president younger and hipper than Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)? Those two are still in their 40s. It sounded like Sweet was trying to stereotype the entire Republican party as old and out-of-touch.

Also completely left out of the discussion is any sense that in the midterms and in 2016, millennial voters may sour on the hollowness of President Obama's "hip" factor, deciding it isn't backed up with sensible policy moves. ObamaCare isn't failing because it isn't hip enough, it's failing because it's a top-down government mandate which costs millennials, and almost everyone else, too much money, contrary to the president's insistence that it would actually save money.

To pretend otherwise is actually rather patronizing of liberal media Obama groupies like Sweet and Witt.

Below is a transcript of the segment:



ALEX WITT: Lynn, I’ll begin with you here. The president has made all the rounds of the major late-night talk shows, but this week he made the slightly riskier booking on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Let's take a listen.

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: What is it like to be the last black president?

BARACK OBAMA: Seriously? What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?

GALIFIANAKIS: It must kind of stink, though, that you can't run, you know, three times.

OBAMA: No, actually I think it's a good idea. You know, if I ran a third time it would be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn't really work out very well, did it?

WITT: That was all part of a pitch for the Affordable Care Act, but the president's critics didn't find it too funny, many saying that he demeaned the office. How about how this is playing in Washington, Lynn?

LYNN SWEET: I think part of the critics -- it reflects a partisan divide. Obama sacrificed maybe a smidgen, ephemeral bit of dignity for something far more important in his legacy, which is getting young people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, to sign up for this health insurance. The March 31 deadline is just coming up, Alex. You know, I don't think when history is written that this video will seen as a turning point one way. Far more serious for the president is getting these sign-ups up. So I think the critics -- if that's the best they have, you know, bring it on.

WITT: So, David, did it work? Do you think that the youth will sign up?



DAVID NAKAMURA: What we know from the White House, Alex, is that they were pleased that referrals after the video was posted to healthcare.gov, you know, spiked. They saw double the number of people visiting the site, I think, and about a 40 percent increase. And what we don't know, though, is how many people took advantage and signed up and whether there's a residual bump day after day as the video continues to sort of rebound on the internet. But you know, what we know so far from the White House also is that about a million young people have signed up. That’s only about 25 percent of the total sign-ups. And they’ve said they need about 40 percent of the sign-ups to be young people to make this a viable, affordable program. So they have a lot of work to do. As Lynn said, they have about two weeks left. You saw the president go on this week, call in to Ryan Seacrest's radio show. He’s trying to reach out in other ways, and I would suspect you're going to see more of this in the next two weeks.

WITT: Lynn, is there even really a contest as to which party better reaches young voters?

SWEET: No. The Democrats are fortunate that the president is younger, he's hipper, he’s into cultural references. He can do shtick like -- he can do shtick that can bring millions of hits on videos. You know, he's into Justin Bieber numbers here on this one particular video. So I think if this was the only contest, you know, certainly he, you know, the president is somebody who is just more youthful. He plays basketball. He's into sports. Mrs. Obama, you know, athletic. So all that helps, I think, in a youth appeal.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.