Network journalists on Wednesday fawned over the fact that Barack Obama is again making NCAA basketball picks. On ABC, Good Morning America's Josh Elliott touted, "And finally, the bracketologist-in-chief is at it again. President Obama, as he does every March, making his predictions..."
Elliott played a clip of the President insisting he would use big bracket winnings to "pay down the debt" and buy his wife shoes. The news reader then enthused, "Smart man. Constituents and wife. Keep them all happy." [UPDATED with video below. MP3 audio here.]
On CBS This Morning, Anthony Mason hyped, "President Obama, an avId college basketball fan, unveiled his choices for Final Four. Some call his pick Barackatology." In 2009, the CBS morning show praised the President as the"fan-in-chief."
Network journalists have a long history of failing to question whether the President, during a time of ongoing crises, should be making these picks.
In 2011, as international incidents with Libya and Japan flared up, NBC correspondent Chuck Todd defended Obama against attacks on his basketball fandom: "Makes people wonder why anyone wants the job."
In 2009, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski critiqued, "Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."
Transcripts of the two news briefs are below:
JOSH ELLIOTT: And finally, the bracketologist-in-chief is at it again. President Obama, as he does every March, making his predictions as to the madness with ESPN's Andy Katz. As the President was making his picks for the men's tournament, they had some fun with the possibility of, perhaps, the President winning Warren Buffett's billion dollar perfect bracket challenge.
ANDY KATZ: If you were to win that, what would you do with a billion dollars?
BARACK OBAMA: You know, I'm sure somebody would ask me to pay down more of the federal debt. Michelle might want a few shoes.
ELLIOTT: Smart man. Constituents and wife. Keep them all happy. The president for a final four on the men's side picked Florida. Strong overall number one, Michigan State, certainly on the come. All right, Sparty, Arizona and Louisville to make the final four. You can see his final four picks on ESPN's "Sportscenter this morning after you're done watching Good Morning America, of course, and over on ESPN.com, as well and as he has done in the past he will picking the women's tournament.
ROBIN ROBERTS: He picks the women because they had their selection on Monday.
ANTHONY MASON: President Obama, an avID college basketball fan, unveiled his choices for the Final Four. Some call his pick Barackatology. In the six years that he has made his brackets public, the President correctly chose the national champion once. That was North Carolina in 2009. This year, his final four choices are number one overall seed Florida, Michigan State, Arizona, and Louisville. The President's full bracket and pick for national champion will be revealed today.