NBC News' Brian Williams got full access to the White House and shot 150 hours of tape for his special on Barack Obama. He spent 45 seconds of them shooting a promo for the Tonight Show. And Obama played along.
On last night's show, O'Brien aired footage from Williams' Obama sit-down of the newsman asking the president about the Leno-O'Brien transition. Here's the exchange:
Williams: I couldn't help but notice your trip this week coincides with Conan O'Brien's first week on the air. Is it because of that, or were there considerations perhaps that you almost cancelled to stay and watch his first week as host of the Tonight Show?
Obama: Well, I think that Conan will do an outstanding job. This is something we've discussed several times in the Oval Office—how to manage this transition between Leno and Conan. And I think he's up to the task. But I just want him to know that there's not going to be any bailout coming from Washington if he screws it up.
HA HA HA.
Brian Williams is so caught up in his persona as an indie-rock loving hipster funny guy that he's actually doing bits for comedy shows on the job while interviewing the President of the United States. And Barack Obama is so caught up in being cool and relatable that he went along with it. Both of these men have very serious jobs, and many, many people have very important questions to ask Barack Obama. Instead of asking one of them, Williams wasted a little time yukking it up so that he could help promote one of his parent company's entertainment properties.
We're all for having a cool president, and for news anchors with a sense of humor. But interviews with the president are not a fucking joke. And if you're going to turn one into a fucking joke, it should at least be a funny one.