Media Thrilled ‘Very Talented’ Obamas ‘Got Paid!’ With Netflix Deal

On Tuesday, all three network morning shows were gleeful over the news that Barack and Michelle Obama had signed a deal with Netflix to create original content for the online streaming service. Hosts happily touted “a lot of people very excited” about the announcement and cheered that the former president and first lady “got paid,” with the agreement rumored to be worth tens of millions of dollars. Missing from much of the adulation, except for a brief mention on NBC, was the fact that the Netflix executive in charge of content was a major Obama campaign donor.

“This morning, the Obamas are stepping back into the spotlight, entering into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with the streaming giant Netflix,” correspondent Dylan Dreyer proclaimed on NBC’s Today show. “In a press release, the former president says both he and Mrs. Obama ‘hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples,’” she explained.

 

 

Noting that “there are few details about what kind of content the Obamas will create,” Dreyer informed viewers: “...but the former president has opened up about what kind of entertainment he likes....While in office, he repeatedly talked about how much he enjoys The Godfather....He also loves the critically-acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, that chronicled the troubled city of Baltimore.”

After taking the time to list the former president’s favorite movies and television shows, the reporter managed 13 seconds (out of a 2 minute 13 second report) on the controversy surrounding the deal:

But the new deal is causing online backlash, with some pushing for a boycott. Netflix management also coming under scrutiny. The company’s chief content manager was a major donor for Obama’s presidential campaign.

In fact, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and his wife Nicole Avant were in the top tier of Obama campaign donors during the 2012 election. In addition, Avant served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas in the Obama State Department.

The former first couple signing the deal with Netflix also came just a couple months after Obama’s United Nations ambassador, Susan Rice, joined the company’s board of directors in March.

While the NBC morning show at least made a quick, vague reference to one of these political connections, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning ignored those details completely when reporting on the deal.

“We’re gonna start with this, from president to producer. Former President Barack Obama has confirmed he and his wife Michelle have signed a multi-year deal with the streaming service Netflix,” news reader Lara Spencer gushed on GMA. After hyping how the Obamas “hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples and help them share their stories with the entire world,” Spencer added: “Netflix not releasing any financial details on the deal.”

Co-host Robin Roberts chimed in: “They got paid!” Fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos assured viewers: “I don’t think it’s a small deal.” Roberts excitedly repeated: “They got paid. Let’s just say that.”

Stephanopoulos hailed the move: “Breaking new ground for a president.” Spencer agreed: “Absolutely. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with.” Roberts asserted: “And we need that kind of programming. We really do.”

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King, another prominent Obama campaign donor, couldn’t contain her enthusiasm: “I bet the deal’s worth quite a bit....I can’t wait to see what happens, what form this takes. But a lot of people very excited about it.” Fellow co-host Norah O’Donnell speculated: “There’s talk it could be worth more than $100 million, right, this deal?”

King confidently declared: “Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking – I would think it’s worth a pretty penny. The two of them are very talented. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”

Just imagine if a Republican politician left office and signed a multi-million dollar deal with a company that was led by a major campaign donor, would the liberal media react to that scenario with such joy?  

Here is a full transcript of the May 22 report on NBC’s Today show:

8:22 AM ET

DYLAN DREYER: So, let's bring Obama into this. Years ago, a former president wanted to push his message out to the public, he would write a book or give speeches. But now, Barack Obama is changing the game, showing that in the digital age, he believes one of the best ways to share ideas is to involve mass entertainment.

This morning, the Obamas are stepping back into the spotlight, entering into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with the streaming giant Netflix.

DAVID LETTERMAN: Netflix, I don’t know what it is.

DREYER: The deal coming just weeks after Mr. Obama’s interview with David Letterman for his Netflix series.

BARACK OBAMA: He’s this biblical beard, you know? Do you have a staff? [Laughter]

DREYER: Now the former president and first lady will produce their own scripted and unscripted content. In a press release, the former president says both he and Mrs. Obama “hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples.” Michelle Obama also adding they have “always believed in the power of storytelling to invite us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.”

There are few details about what kind of content the Obamas will create, but the former president has opened up about what kind of entertainment he likes.

OBAMA: Godfather II is maybe my favorite movie.

DREYER: While in office, he repeatedly talked about how much he enjoys The Godfather.

AL PACINO [THE GODFATHER PART II]: I know it was you Fredo, you broke my heart.  

OBAMA: As I was flying over the lake, I was thinking about Fredo.

DREYER: He also loves the critically-acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, that chronicled the troubled city of Baltimore.

WENDELL PIERCE [THE WIRE]: A man must have a code.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, no doubt.

OBAMA: I’m a huge fan of The Wire. I think it’s one of the greatest pieces of art in the last couple of decades.

DREYER: But the new deal is causing online backlash, with some pushing for a boycott. Netflix management also coming under scrutiny. The company’s chief content manager was a major donor for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Regardless, the new partnership seems to signal a change for what presidents do once they leave office.

NBDaily Liberals & Democrats Entertainment Media ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Netflix Video Gayle King Dylan Dreyer Lara Spencer Robin Roberts Barack Obama Michelle Obama

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