President Obama can add another job title to his resume: Samsung shill.
It turns out that the "spontaneous" selfie that the president took with Red Sox player David Ortiz at the White House on Tuesday was actually an orchestrated social-media move by the baseball star.
After Ortiz tweeted the picture of him and the president on the South Lawn, it got a social-media boost from Samsung on Twitter. Ortiz, as a newly signed social-media insider for the tech company, used one of their devices for the shot. Then Samsung's social-media team went to work tweeting out the photo and confirming it was taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
"When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans," Samsung said in a statement to The Boston Globe. "We didn't know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device."
This mirrors the Samsung-orchestrated selfie, and now most tweeted photo ever, that Ellen DeGeneres took at the Oscars last month.
The president was obviously duped into helping Samsung sell more phones. "POTUS did not know," Red Sox fan and White House press secretary Jay Carney told BusinessWeek.
But how could the president have known?
Unless he was explicitly told, he really couldn't have. This will, however, make the White House press team and the president think twice before Obama takes another selfie with athletes or other celebrities.
And it's too bad, really. The president taking a selfie was an easy social-media win for him. It makes Obama look down-to-earth and human.
The political selfie is no longer just a rare bit of innocent Washington levity. Now, with the help of Samsung, it's just another conduit for corporate messaging.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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