The Politics of the White House Screening Room

President_obama_3d_super_bowl_2009For all the splash of a worldwide rollout of a Hollywood feature film — the dazzle of a Grauman’s Chinese Theatre premiere in Los Angeles, a walk up the red carpet at the Ziegfeld in New York — nothing quite matches the cachet of getting booked at the White House screening room.

Those lucky enough to land a booking see added publicity value for their projects. But a president’s movie selections also can be a source of polarization, from the famous stories of Richard Nixon watching “Patton” as he ordered bombing in Cambodia, to even President Obama’s decision to order up a copy of the latest “Star Trek” film before its release.

The White House Family Theater is the subject of a recent piece I did for Politico, which you can read here. And my thanks to Boston NPR station WBUR’s “Here & Now” for their segment on the screening room this week, which you can listen to here. (A warning: In the interview I mangle the word “nuclear,” but hey, I am not the only one to do that, am I?)

Although the screening room is considered part of the First Family’s private quarters, they have from time to time opened it up for cameras, such as last March when Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks screened part of their HBO project “The Pacific” to Obama, military brass and World War II vets.

White House photo and video.

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