Video Exercises

Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

GOOD magazine is a collaborative community of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits who produce a magazine and videos, and who organize events that are politically oriented and progressive. The following video, which was produced by GOOD before the November 2008 election, outlines some the challenges and priorities that the 44th president will face in office.

“What the Next President Inherits”
October 30, 2008

1a. Do you feel the above video effectively summarizes the challenges faced by President Barack Obama? Why or why not?
1b. How have these challenges changed since 2008? What new challenges have emerged?
1c. Is the political power of the U.S. president strong enough to solve these problems through legislative cooperation with Congress? Or are other organizations, such as nongovernmental organizations, foreign governments, or the military, more likely to provide real solutions to these challenges? Explain your answer in terms of the discussion of the presidency in your textbook.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a satirical news program hosted by Jon Stewart. The show draws its comedy from recent news stories, satirizing political figures, media organizations, and frequently the show itself and its cast members.

“My Job”
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Originally aired Comedy Central, October 5, 2006

Although the above video is a satirical portrait of how George W. Bush envisioned his role as president of the United States, it does raise an important issue of how American presidents define themselves once in office. What do you feel is the most important role or task that a president should assume when in office?
2b. Do you feel that President Obama has met your expectations for this role or task? Why or why not?

In the video that follows, Jon Stewart reviews President Barack Obama’s first year in office and how it is being evaluated by other media outlets.

“The First 364 Days 23 Hours”
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Originally aired on Comedy Central, January 19, 2010

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The First 364 Days 23 Hours
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

3a. What point do you think Stewart and correspondent Larry Wilmore are trying to make about evaluating presidencies?
3b. What factors do you think should be taken into account when evaluating the job a president does? Based on these factors, how would you evaluate the job done by the Obama administration?

The Colbert Report is also a satirical news program that draws on many of the same recent news stories, satirizing political figures, media organizations, and frequently the show itself and its cast members. In the clip that follows, Stephen Colbert explains how the Obama administration found a way around the 1973 War Powers Act, avoiding the need to get congressional approval for U.S. involvement in Libya in 2011.

“The Word: The Defining Moment”
The Colbert Report
Originally aired on Comedy Central, June 22, 2011

4a. According to the video and the textbook, what are the problems with the War Powers Act?
4b. How should Congress and the president share or divide the power to enter armed conflicts?
4c. Would you propose any changes to the War Powers Act? Why or why not?

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