Yesterday, during an interview with CNBC, President Obama weighed in on the preeminent cultural debate of the beginning of this week, Kanye West’s soy-bombing of Taylor Swift. (Kanye has now made three public apologies, most recently on last night’s Jay Leno show. See, Joe Wilson? It’s not so hard.) The normally reserved Obama was surprisingly harsh, calling Kanye a “jackass.” ABC’s Terry Moran, watching a feed of the interview, raced to become the first to tweet the remark: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won,” he wrote. “Now THAT’S presidential.” Except that the “jackass” comment was off the record, and therefore unreportable. Now THAT’S journalistic ethics. (Commence with Moran/moron jokes.)
Moran quickly removed the tweet, but as so many have discovered before him, nothing can truly disappear from the Internet. Shamed by their reporter’s lapse in judgment, ABC released a statement apologizing to the White House and CNBC and assuring that they would take steps to prevent this from ever happening again. But we doubt Obama is too upset about this particular incident. The term “Sister Souljah moment” is thrown around a lot (poor girl), but there’s no doubt that this is great example of one — albeit an unintentional one. Not only did Obama demonstrate his willingness to criticize a black hip-hop artist — just like the original Sister Souljah moment! — but one who wronged a country singer to boot. It’s not as if Obama just ensured the passage of the public option, but it can only boost the overall opinion of him in the flyover states. Look, white people — he’s not so bad!
ABC’s Moran removes tweet with Obama swipe at Kanye [Michael Calderone/Politico]