Jake Horowitz, editor-in-chief of the liberal-leaning news site Mic, suggested that, after leaving the Oval Office, President Barack Obama might trade in his commander in chief title for a media mogul title. But, according to the White House, the outgoing president has no intentions of starting his own media company.
In his report, Horowitz, who formerly worked for Change.org, where he had close relations with Obama's inner circle, cited anonymous sources indicating Obama was interested in a career in media, to include launching his won internet-based network.
But there are no such plans, according to White House communications director Jen Psaki.
"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," she told Horowitz.
However, it is worth noting that Obama has been fairly critical of reporting. He has indicated during his time in office that he believes shifts in the media landscape can impair voters' judgement on issues.
During a speech at the University of Pittsburgh, the president outlined how he thinks the up-and-coming media realm could resolve the perceived problem:
It used to be there were three television stations and Walter Cronkite is on there and not everybody agreed, and there were always outliers who thought that it was all propaganda, and we didn’t really land on the moon, and Elvis is still alive, and so forth. But, generally, that was in the papers that you bought at the supermarket right as you were checking out. And generally, people trusted a basic body of information.
But there has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.
And that’s hard to do, but I think it’s going to be necessary, it’s going to be possible. I think the answer is obviously not censorship, but it’s creating places where people can say, this is reliable and I’m still able to argue about — safely — about facts and what we should do about it while still -- not just making stuff up
Over the years, Horowitz has certainly enjoyed a cozy relationship with Obama, as Politico pointed out. He worked with the White House in 2013 to create a Mic initiative that acted as propaganda for the Affordable Care Act and, in 2015, he scored an exclusive interview with the president for the online news outlet.
And while the president might not have any interested in launching "Obama TV," per se, he certainly wants to make media engagement a centerpiece of his post-presidency.
In wide-ranging discussion with Rolling Stone last month, Obama said he plans to start "organizing my presidential center" when he exits the White House, adding that a prominent subject in the facility will be focused on answering the question, "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?"