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President Barack Obama has been discussing a post-presidential career in digital media and is considering launching his own media company, according to multiple sources who spoke on background because they were not authorized to speak for the president.
Obama considers media to be a central focus of his next chapter, these sources say, though exactly what form that will take — a show streaming on Netflix, a web series on a comedy site or something else — remains unclear. Obama has gone so far as to discuss launching his own media company, according to one source with knowledge of the matter, although he has reportedly cooled on the idea of late.
When contacted for comment, White House communications director Jen Psaki told Mic in a statement, "While the president will remain actively engaged in inspiring young people and he is interested in the changing ways people consume information, he has no plans to get into the media business after he leaves office."
That it's Obama who is mulling a media career marks an intriguing twist for an election year in which President-elect Donald Trump's rumored television plans have become a subject of debate. Prior to Election Day, which nearly every pollster had Hillary Clinton winning, much speculation centered on Trump's post-election plans. Reports suggested he would launch a "Trump TV" network of his own, either online or on cable. According to the Financial Times, Trump's son-in-law, media baron Jared Kushner, had approached a media investor about possibly funding such a network. At the time, the Trump campaign denied that any such network was in the works (though Trump experimented with live Facebook video offerings in the campaign's closing days).
So is Obama gearing up to launch "Obama TV"? That much remains unclear, but doing so wouldn't be inconsistent with his track record. Over the course of his presidency, Obama has made a point of using social media and engaging with digital outlets in creative ways — including producing his own short-form web videos, which get posted directly to his social media accounts.
When Rolling Stone asked the president about his future plans, Obama said he would begin "organizing my presidential center," where a top subject would be, "How do we rethink our storytelling, the messaging and the use of technology and digital media, so that we can make a persuasive case across the country?"
Obama has been outspoken in recent days about the faux news phenomenon, arguing that the rise of conspiracy theories and the easy propagation of fake stories has made it difficult to establish basic facts to frame a debate. "And now we just don't have that," he told New Yorker editor David Remnick.
2016.12.03 / 10:55