EP: New York City – In an effort to bring the rapidly expanding federal budget deficit under control, the White House and Comcast Corporation announced today that the White House Press Office will be officially acquired by Comcast in exchange for $1.2 billion in cash and a series of “in-kind” services to be determined at a later date. Both the White House and Comcast believe the transaction to be a win-win situation.
Robert Gibbs, who will now be required to wear a “Comcast” tee-shirt and baseball cap during all future press conferences, announced the deal earlier today in his final appearance as an independent spokesman for the Obama administration. “It was not really a difficult decision” he explained to reporters in an opening statement, “the White House needs cash to keep the budget under control, and the White House Press office gets a lot of traffic, both through broadcast and the web, giving Comcast a unique opportunity to reach consumers through all sorts of creative cross-promotional activities.” Gibbs later added that the in-kind services would likely involve media “management” for possible future scandals.
“We are very excited about this deal” said James Johnson, Senior VP for Marketing at Comcast, on a conference call with reporters. ”In addition to exclusive broadcast rights to all State-of-the-Union addresses, we also have a lot of freedom for product placement. So for example, immediately prior to addressing the nation, President Obama could be casually sipping a Coke, or perhaps finishing up a Subway sandwich. Maybe he could nonchalantly outstretch his arm, revealing a Rolex watch. With a cool president like Obama, the value to advertisers will be tremendous .” Johnson did not go into details about any other specific marketing approaches, although he did say that he has his graphic design team working on reformulating the White House seal to read The White House, brought to you by Comcast. “We want to do it tastefully, but we did pay $1.2 billion so we will have to recoup our investment” added Johnson.
Gibbs fired back at reporters who questioned the appropriateness of such an arrangement, “You guys complain about everything. First it was ‘but you said you would close Guantanamo in one year and you aren’t', and then it was ‘you said you would change Bush era foreign policy and you didn’t’. Can’t you do anything but complain?” retorted Gibbs in a somewhat mocking manner. Gibbs went on to clarify that it was only the White House Press Office that was being sold to Comcast, and that all other offices in the White House remained firmly under the control of the President, but could later be sold on an as needed basis. “We can make a lot more money selling this stuff off piece by piece” Gibbs explained.
Tom Brokaw, former NBC news anchor and future Comcast board member, applauded the move as a creative use of public-private partnerships. “The media industry as a whole is going through a difficult time. President Obama himself has spoken passionately about the importance of media and its role in our democracy. This is an opportunity for the President to leverage his personal brand to help the media generate the revenue it needs to survive.” Brokaw acknowledged that there will likely be some critcism from radical left-wing groups, but that he thinks the American people will ultimately see them for what they are – a fringe movement. Brokaw also hinted that Lockheed Martin was beginning similar talks with the Department of Defense. “There are natural synergies there” he added.
When asked about his own plans, Gibbs gave a hint about a possible future move from his current position. “Let’s be honest, White House Press Secretary doesn’t really pay that well. But from what I heard, Comcast is looking for a VP of Communications, so I was thinking of throwing my hat into that ring. I dunno, we’ll see. Wish me luck.”