Rolling Stone magazine May 2012

President Obama Criticized for Turning to “Hip” Magazines to Talk Politics and More

Rolling Stone Obama coverAfter granting interviews to People and Glamour magazines, President Obama has caught flak for dodging the press. But his campaign says this is where Americans get their news.

Forget the days when political coverage was relegated to a handful of nightly news programs or weekly magazines like Time and Newsweek. In today’s increasingly connected—and portable—world, our news consumption habits have definitely changed.

And with the hundreds of brands and businesses that have changed their approach to reach us and keep up with us, it was only a matter of time before the White House did the same.

In recent weeks, President Barack Obama has faced growing criticism for his series of sit-down interviews with entertainment outlets and softer magazines, like People, Glamour and ESPN the Magazine, while limiting his access to the White House press corps.

His deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, defended the unorthodox media maneuvering, saying that these outlets were “just as important” as political media since that’s where many Americans are getting their news.

Sure, the usual subjects are covered—hot-button topics like women’s healthcare and the like—but critics have zeroed in on the less hard-hitting issues, like the President’s playlist and Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit single, “Call Me Maybe” (which were discussed during a radio interview aired in Alburquerque, N.M).

In a Rolling Stone magazine cover story published in May, President Obama primarily discussed the issues—Middle East unrest, economic recovery, marriage equality and more—while providing snippets into his private life and media habits, like what he’s watching, reading and singing.

He’ll address women’s healthcare in Glamour’s upcoming November issue, but little other details about that interview have been leaked. Just the reputation of the magazine alone has led some political pundits to chide that they “can’t wait to see what he thinks of the new fall collection.”

Traditionally, first ladies have been targeted by women’s magazines who wanted the scoop on what life is like in the White House, raising children in the public eye or even their fashion sense. Glamour played up its female readership in order to score the presidential interview—which took five months to nail down.

Prior to his appearance in Glamour, President Obama will be featured in Vanity Fair’s October issue in an article written by best-selling author Michael Lewis, who has, at times, been critical of how the nation’s leader has managed the financial crisis. A source close to both the President and the writer says the article will be about leadership.

Good or bad idea? Tell us your take on political news in non-traditional sources.