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President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he arrives to speak at a fundraising event at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Obama is spending the day fundraising in Texas. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Scott D. Pierce: Obama’s TV choices are cause for concern

By Scott D. Pierce

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Dec 31 2013 09:55 am • Last Updated May 21 2014 05:35 pm

As someone who covers television for a living, I am somewhat concerned about what the president of the United States watches.

Drawing from various sources, not directly from Barack Obama, The New York Times reported the following eight shows are his favorites:

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• "Boardwalk Empire"

• "Breaking Bad"

• "Downton Abbey"

• "Game of Thrones"

• "Homeland"

• "House of Cards"

• "Modern Family"

• "Parks and Recreation"

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They’re all good shows. Some are great shows. Half are on my 2013 top-10 list; all of them were among those I considered.

Obama has good taste in television shows.

(By the way, this is a TV column. This is by no stretch of the imagination about politics or policy.)

No matter who occupies the White House, we should not begrudge him/her a bit of downtime in front of the TV. We all need to relax, and watching television is America’s favorite way to do that.

Hey, it would be un-American if the president didn’t watch TV.

And there’s something kind of charming about the idea of Obama sitting down and getting a laugh out of "Modern Family" and "Parks and Recreation." Or getting caught up in the soap opera that is "Downton Abbey."

But the president has the ultimate high-pressure job. He deals with crisis after crisis; he does battle with political opponents; he makes life-and-death decisions.

The majority of the shows on that list are hardly a respite from his regular life. They’re filled with ruthless people doing cruel things.

You could argue that the only real difference from "Breaking Bad" to "Homeland," from "Boardwalk Empire" to "House of Cards" to "Game of Thrones" is in the specifics of the barbaric behavior. Congressman Underwood (Kevin Spacey) didn’t have anyone shot or beheaded in "House of Cards," but he would have if he’d been a character in "Boardwalk Empire" or "Game of Thrones."

And Walter White (Bryan Cranston) would have fit right in on "Homeland."

Somehow, I’d feel better if President Obama were watching "The Big Bang Theory," "The Goldbergs" or "Trophy Wife." Light-hearted shows that would let him escape from his troubles.

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