Former President Barack Obama might once again be gracing your television screen regularly if a contract between himself and Netflix is finalized. The powerful former first couple plans to use Netflix as a way of directly communicating with subscribers. Breitbart News reports that while negotiations are still underway, the show would reportedly include former first lady Michelle Obama.
“Netflix would pay Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service, which has nearly 118 million subscribers around the world. The number of episodes and the formats for the shows have not been decided,” the outlet reported.
The question that brings to everyone’s minds is; what will this show be used for, and why not do it on cable news? According to reports, the former President “does not intend to use his Netflix shows to respond to President Trump or conservative critics directly,” but instead wants to have a more inspirational quality to his content.
He plans to talk about the inspirational things that he witnessed while in office, and tell stories that he thinks the world should hear. However, it’s difficult to confirm any reports. Breitbart reported that, “Interestingly enough, ‘the Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com, would give Mr. Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media, with 101 million Twitter followers and 55 million people who have liked his Facebook page,’ the Times reports.”
It appears that the President is looking to combat the recent flood of alternatives to the mainstream media by reaching people on a platform that they already use regularly. While he’s not admitting to wanting to do what conservative media has done, he has in the past addressed the fact that alternative media streams are changing the landscape of news.
Obama cited Breitbart, during the 2016 election cycle as having a significant influence on the election.
“Obama told an audience of activists at his Foundation Summit in Chicago last November that ‘Breitbart did something pretty interesting. Now, they didn’t create a whole new platform but they did shift the entire media narrative in a different direction — in a powerful direction.’”
‘President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire,’ Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, told the Times. ‘Throughout their lives, they have lifted up stories of people whose efforts to make a difference are quietly changing the world for the better. As they consider their future personal plans, they continue to explore new ways to help others tell and share their stories.’
The move would be unprecedented as most former presidents spend their post-White House years devoted to charity and fundraising for their libraries and other philanthropic interests.
But Obama — who recently appeared on Netflix’s David Letterman-hosted talk show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction — has, bucking a trend set by his predecessors, publicly voiced his opinions about the policy agenda of President Donald Trump.
Now it seems the former president may be attempting to change the media narrative using Netflix to explore political issues that dominated his presidency — from health care to immigration, foreign policy, and climate change — on many of which, President Trump has undone or rolled back.”
While Obama insists that this will not be a news-based program, given his previous comments about the current influences on the American people, it’s hard to imagine that the former Commander-in-Chief will be able to help himself, especially considering what happened the last time he appeared on a Netflix show.
In a January appearance on David Letterman’s My next guest needs to introduction with David Letterman, Obama made some pretty inflammatory comments about Americans who don’t consume their daily recommended dose of mainstream media.
Fox News reports that, early in the show, Letterman asked Obama what he considers the more dangerous threat to democracy the president demeaning the press or a foreign power sabotaging the voting process. While both options are very thinly veiled jabs at President Trump, Obama was able to answer without mentioning the current president’s name. What he did mention, were the people who voted for President Trump:
“One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts,” Obama said. “If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR.”
The mainstream media likes to focus a lot of their attention on the fact that President Trump calls them out on a regular basis, but neglect to mention that media darling Obama had his tiff with a network as well, just not theirs. According to Fox, Obama has ” a long history of taking shots at Fox News but the recent comment marks his first public attack on the network and its viewers since leaving the White House.”
In the aftermath of the Obama Presidency, a lot of things have started to change, not the least of which is how we consume our news. Representatives from the flailing DNC might attempt to circumvent that and reinvent their public persona, but a lot of damage has been done in the past eight years, and a feel-good Netflix series won’t fix any of it.