The new normal.

President Obama on Tuesday defended the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs in a wide-ranging interview on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” arguing that the agency doesn’t target U.S. civilians.

We don’t have a domestic spying program,” Obama said, according to the media pool report. “What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack…That information is useful.”

Terror alerts. Deepening concerns about an ever-watchful government. So the most powerful man in the world heads to Burbank to tell a late-night talk show host we can all calm down.

Curse the dominance of entertainment media in our political discourse all you want, but ignore it at your peril (hint, hint…RNC).