Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce thinks former President Obama’s best-of-2018 list seems little more than an exercise in virtue-signaling.
Obama released his annual list highlighting his favorite books, music and movies of the year on Friday, generating excitement from those who were mentioned as well as those who may have shared interests with the former president.
“He has made a tradition of this, he’s done this every year,” Bruce said, speaking with Fox News host Ed Henry on Friday.
Obama’s favorite-songs list included artists such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, J. Cole, Brandi Carlile, Courtney Barnett, Cardi B, Leon Bridges and H.E.R. In sharing the list on Facebook, the former president wrote that compiling it gave him “a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved.”
“I think for a lot of people these lists can be virtue signaling. It’s like, look at what I’m doing. Or, more, look at what you should be reading,” Bruce said Friday. “A lot of people on the list, some of them certainly, especially with the music, are friends of the Obamas, so you can’t blame him for that, I suppose.”
Topping Obama’s favorite movies were Marvel’s superhero blockbuster, “Black Panther” and the sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” as well as “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Death of Stalin.”
Michelle Obama’s recent best-selling autobiography, “Becoming,” topped her husband’s reading list.
“Obviously my favorite!” he wrote, following it with his other top reads including, “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones, “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt – which Fox News host Ed Henry found to be “kind of an interesting choice.”
Henry also quipped that, although Obama had listed the “classic” Nelson Mandela book, “Long Walk to Freedom,” as well as a book by Ben Rhodes, his former national security aide, he noticed that fellow Fox News colleague “Tucker Carlson’s book is not on the list.”
“Shocker,” Bruce laughed.
“When I grew up, a favorite teacher of mine said that, while it’s great to read for pleasure and important to do so and, to read to reinforce or expand your understanding of your own point of view, it’s particularly important to read things that you know you will disagree with so that you hear other arguments. And also can refine your own point of view,” Bruce said. “But we’ll see how many people pick up on his list there.”
Liberal talk radio host and Fox News contributor, Richard Fowler, pointed out that Obama’s favorite music was also very popular with the masses, and he was “not alone” in his choice of Cardi B’s “I Like it” which he noted was “the sixth most streamed song on Apple Music globally.”
“So around the world, people love Cardi B and they like this song,” Fowler said.
“And it confirms that Barack Obama is hip,” Bruce added, making her point again.
Cardi B celebrated making the list, as did other artists, in a post on Instagram, saying “Yaaayyyyy I made the list.”
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Janelle Monáe, another artist who made Obama’s list for the song “Make Me Feel” thanked the former president on Instagram as well.
“Since we’re talking ‘best of the year’ lists,” she wrote, “once again, you still hold da #1 spot for best president.”
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Thanks for putting “make me feel” on your “fav songs of 2018” list . And since we’re talking “best of the year” lists , once again, you still hold da #1 spot for best president . @barackobama ? courtesy of the @obamafoundation
The Fox News panel turned attention briefly to the millions of copies of Michelle Obama’s book that have been sold and how the former first lady outed Hillary Clinton as the most admired woman in a Gallup poll.
“What’s interesting…Hillary held the top spot for 17 years. It’s more of a popularity of the media list at the time, a random phone call to, I think, over about a thousand people and you can choose whomever you want,” Bruce explained.
“Generally what you are going to get are people who have been positively portrayed in the media and are in the media a lot. She is coming off of her book tour so it’s not that surprising,” she added.
“So it’s not kind of a deep analysis of who the majority of Americans admire. But it does tell you who they have been portraying positively up until this point, which was Hillary,” Bruce said. “That means for some reason, Hillary is not at the top spot because the media is not portraying her in the same fashion.”
Bruce dismissed any possible political aspirations by Michelle Obama, noting that the former first lady probably feels more effective outside of the “swamp.”
“I think they are enjoying their life. I think they are enjoying it more now than they were when they were in the White House,” Bruce said. “Mrs. Obama expressed on a few occasions how she did not like that environment. So why would she want to go back into an environment when they have tremendous influence right now in most mediums, and she can have an influence and continue to do what she wants to do in the popular framework without having to deal with the swamp.”