My erstwhile colleagues at Entertainment Weekly have a cover package this week on Barack Obama, who these days is the only celeb big enough to upstage the Oscar nominations (which take up the bulk of this issue’s feature well). Much marveling over what rock stars the First Couple are, at a time when celebrities-as-brands have lost much of their influence and allure (see Cruise, Tom). Of course, the flip side, unexamined here, is that stars can fall out of favor just as quickly as they rise; media outlets are just waiting behind the rodeo gate to unleash the backlash at the first sign of an Obama misstep. At that point, I imagine, EW will create a “Can this career be saved?” article, listing a media plan for the tarnished president to restore his image. (Expect them to recommend visits to Oprah, Saturday Night Live, Larry King, David Letterman, The Daily Show, and other usual stations of the cross for penitent media figures.)
There’s also a decent sidebar listing the powerful Hollywood supporters (from David Geffen to Jennifer Aniston to will.i.am) who helped Obama get elected, though it’s unclear if any of them expect or even want to have Obama’s ear now that he’s in office. Another sidebar, listing some of the president’s own pop culture faves (he likes The Godfather, Meryl Streep, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Bob Dylan, but then, who doesn’t?), which also raises the unanswered question: Just because he has good taste and is tech-savvy enough to work an iPod and a BlackBerry, does that mean good policies will follow? Anyway, check it out.