Last week “Game of Thrones” fans learned just how good it is to be king, er, president.
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that President Barack Obama, a big fan of the show, asked for and will receive screeners for the upcoming season of the show, which begins Sunday on HBO.
“He’s the leader of the free world,” Weiss said.
“When the commander-in-chief says, ‘I want to see advanced episodes,’ what are you going to do?” added Benioff.
Fans, predictably, were awed, jealous and a little ticked off.
HBO has been super-secretive about Season 6. Obama is said to be the only person outside of the network to have access to the screeners. Journalists used to have that privilege.
In the past, HBO sent out advance screeners to members of the media. But it announced earlier this year that it wasn’t going to do that after the first four episodes of Season 5 somehow got leaked.
“That means those who traditionally view them — mainly journalists, industry folk, and the occasional fan group — have no choice but to wait,” writes Vanessa Golembewski at Refinery29 website.
But she’s not willing to wait. On Friday, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking that Obama “share his advance screeners” with the public.
She’s serious. Sorta.
She must have seen this tweet last week from Chuck Todd at NBC.
“I decided this was a perfect opportunity to test the limits of the Freedom Of Information Act,” Golembewski wrote. “If the president — and by extension, our government — is in possession of a file, surely that file is subject to my request to see it as a U.S. citizen.”
She noted that this is her first FOIA request.
“I was surprised that this form also asked me how much I’d be willing to pay for this information,” she wrote.
“My editor said, ‘You can expense up to $10.’ But then, I thought about how I already owe the government a (bleep) ton of money in student loans. So, I wrote that I was willing to pay nothing, but that if they insist on charging me, they can effectively ‘put it on my tab.’”
She knows that her request is “a stretch.”
“Firstly, I’m not entirely sure where the ‘Game of Thrones’ screeners fall in the gray area that is personal property of a government figure. Secondly, there’s a bunch of red tape around the kinds of things you can request in a FOIA.
“OK, fine. There are just nine exemptions — and all of them seem like really fair calls. For example, it’s off limits if the information in question would threaten our national security. I felt confident that even with these rules, TV episodes were still fair game.”
Golembewski’s request might have “Game of Thrones” giggling, but others aren’t laughing.