President Obama is giving post-State of the Union interviews to three YouTube personalities with rather unusual profiles.
YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell and Hank Green will interview Obama at the White House on Thursday as part of what the White House says is an ongoing effort to speak directly to the American people online.
“We're always looking for new ways to do just that,” Kori Schulman, director of Online Engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy wrote in a blog post. “That's why, this year, we’re trying something a little different.”
Obama will take questions from Mota, a fashion designer whose fashion and decorating videos have attracted more than 9 million YouTube subscribers; comedian GloZell, who is partial to green lipstick and nail polish and Green, a self-described nerd known for the channel VlogBrothers, which he runs with his brother. A recent post: 14 Fart Facts for my Flatulent Friends. (His brother, John, posted a video with a title the Obama administration might endorse: Why Does Congress Suck?)
When a White House reporter noted that the trio often depict themselves “doing ridiculous things,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he expected them to be “appropriately respectful of the president and the office of the presidency.”
It’s not the first time Obama has sought a nontraditional audience. In March, Obama appeared on “ Between Two Ferns,” on the internet comedy channel, Funny or Die.
“We consider this to be a unique and interesting way for the president to discuss some of the priorities that he'll talk about in the State of the Union,” Earnest said of the YouTube interviews. “And it should be interesting.”
He suggested the talk of “how risky this is” could prompt a bigger audience.
“The president is trying to put his ideas in front of as many people as he can,” Earnest said. “And if he can go to an interesting venue where he may be able to attract the attention of some people that didn't tune into the State of the Union address, for example, then we certainly would welcome the opportunity to do that.”