Visiting the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, Calif., on Tuesday, President Obama told employees of the film industry that their work has profound influence both at home and abroad. In the wake of tragedies like the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the entertainment should be mindful of that power, he said.
“When it comes to issues like gun violence, we've got to make sure that we're not glorifying it because the stories you tell shape our children's outlook and their lives,” Mr. Obama said.
“The stories we tell matter. And you tell stories more powerfully than anybody else on the Earth.”
Citing the positive impact of the entertainment industry’s influence, he added, “Even as we think long and hard about the messages we send, we should never waiver from the commitment to the freedom that allows us to tell those stories so well.”Entertainment is one of America’s biggest exports, he noted, adding that “entertainment is part of our American diplomacy.”
“We have shaped a world culture through you,” he said. “And the stories we tell transmit values and ideals about tolerance and diversity and overcoming adversity... that are part of our DNA.”
The president also called the entertainment industry “one of the bright spots in our economy,” arguing that the creativity has given this sector and others in the U.S. a competitive edge. The thing we do better than anybody else is creativity,” he said.
Before speaking, Mr. Obama met with film industry representatives and toured the DreamWorks studio. Earlier in the day, he attended a Democratic fundraising event in Los Angeles. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is a major Obama supporter, who raised millions for the president’s re-election campaign and gave $3 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action. The Republican National Committee charged Tuesday that the stop at DreamWorks “rounds out an epic donor tour” for Mr. Obama, but the White House said Katzenberg’s support for the president had no bearing on Tuesday’s visit.
“It's an opportunity to highlight the success of one business and the success that they're having in creating jobs in California,” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Along with touting the success of the entertainment industry, Mr. Obama used his stop to defend the Affordable Care Act and call for more bipartisanship.
“We’d be a lot farther along without some of the dysfunction and obstruction we’ve seen in Washington,” he said. Noting that “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part Two” are some of his favorite movies, he said, “It turns out Marlon Brando had it easy because when it comes to Congress, there’s no such thing as an offer they can’t refuse. I’m going to keep on trying, though.”