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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Watch: Gov. Bobby Jindal's would-be viral video featuring him doing pushups

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 2:29 PM

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Twenty-three years ago, the sight of presidential candidate Bill Clinton playing his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show was controversial. At the time, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun wrote:

Clinton's saxophone-playing appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" in June, though, was widely mocked at the time by many members of the we-know-everything gang covering national politics.

It wasn't dignified. It demeaned presidential politics. It "coarsened" the discourse of democracy, to use the language that syndicated columnist George Will seems to use to describe anything that isn't white, male and borrowed from ancient Rome or Greece. Clinton was dubbed the "Elvis candidate," in part because he was playing (or rather gamely trying to play) Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."

That was ancient history. By 2008, then- (and now-) presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was slamming boilermakers for the camera because that's just the kind of thing Serious Candidates had to do to prove they were real people.

Since then, of course, the rise of the staged-viral video has resulted in sights like Lindsey Graham destroying his cellphone like a macho man, and Ted Cruz cooking bacon on the barrel of what was described as a machine gun (and is actually an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle). 

Now Gov. Bobby Jindal is in the mix, cooperating with Buzzfeed for a video in which he has a pushup contest against "the issues" (don't ask us):

Asked via Twitter whether the Jindal campaign paid Buzzfeed to produce what essentially is a would-be viral infomercial, Buzzfeed political editor Katherine Miller said no:


With 14 other GOP candidates in the race, Buzzfeed better get busy.

Edited to add: Gawker's Hamilton Nolan wasn't impressed

This is image-laundering. It is not good comedy, and it is definitely not journalism. It is Buzzfeed tacitly agreeing to make a goofy, feel-good video about a revolting presidential candidate to help improve his image, in return for him agreeing to get down and do pushups next to Buzzfeed employees dressed in slogan-bearing t-shirts. It is not funny. If you just contemplate Bobby Jindal’s actual policy positions while watching it, it is truly painful. Buzzfeed seems to have whored itself out rather cheaply in this case.

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