Barack Obama, the President of the United States, appeared last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I don't know about you, but to me that seems supremely weird.
Whatever Leno's show may morph into when he takes the 10pm timeslot next fall, right now his show is an entertainment one, and while I find politics entertaining (if a bit disgusting at times), I wouldn't say that having the President on really fits with the ethos of the show. Leno managed a good mix of lighter and more serious questions and conducted a fine interview, but I'm not sure that the interview ought to have been conducted at all.
It's no secret that I'm more of a Letterman guy than a Leno one, but I think that it would be weird if Dave conducted the interview as well. Late night talkers, save Nightline, are not news shows. The monologues of these comedy-based shows routinely go after politicians, past and present, but that still doesn't make the show news-based or the appropriate forum for President Obama to be discussing his agenda and strategies.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not against Obama as person nor as our President. I am one of the millions who voted for Barack Obama, and I feel just as much today as I did then that he is the correct person for the job. However, I don't feel as though his simply being the correct person means that he necessarily doesn't make mistakes, and, if I'm not wrong about him, he has to feel the same way. We're all human, we're all fallible, and I think that this may have been an instant of Obama's being fallible (thank goodness we're only talking a late night television appearance and not the economy).
The problem, I think, is that as good an interview as Leno may have conducted, I'd rather see our President go on news shows. I'd rather see him on Meet the Press on Sunday morning (I assume he has an affinity for NBC as he did Leno and not Letterman) than on late night. News shows have a certain responsibility to the audience that entertainment talk shows don't. News shows are, generally speaking, more unbiased than a late night talker, and are more on a search for truth (or ought to be). Entertainment shows are meant to be… entertaining, and they exist, by and large, to promote people, movies, shows, records, and other various things; that's their goal – promotion.