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I read this NY Times article, and I am not sure what does "while not a direct answer..." mean. I think it could be rephrased as "while the show is not a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com", but what does a direct answer exactly mean?

My friend said it meant the show would be different from Fox news or Breitbart, but I do not understand how it means this.

Please help me. Thank you.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/us/politics/obama-netflix-shows.html

Mr. Obama does not intend to use his Netflix shows to directly respond to President Trump or conservative critics, according to people familiar with discussions about the programming. They said the Obamas had talked about producing shows that highlight inspirational stories. But the Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com, would give Mr. Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media, with 101 million Twitter followers and 55 million people who have liked his Facebook page.

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    @Lawrence I just corrected it. And thank you very much for your perfect answer. I really appreciate it. – Mango Gummy Mar 12 '18 at 14:24
  • Happy to help. :) – Lawrence Mar 12 '18 at 14:35
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answer (to) noun (in singular) A person or thing regarded as the equivalent to a better-known one from another place. ‘the press called her Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe’ - ODO

Since the Netflix deal wasn't an answer to Fox News or Breitbart.com, it wasn't equivalent to them, supporting to some extent your friend's assertion about the show being different from the other two.

In common usage, "X is an answer to Y" also carries the connotation that X is at least as good as Y. Saying that the show wasn't an answer to the other two concedes that the show was inferior. Adding direct ("not a direct answer to") softens this concession somewhat.

With respect to the broader context of the quote:

Response or direct reaction feels closer to the mark to me: it’s saying that Obama’s deal with Neftflix is not a direct answer/reaction/counter-measure to Trump’s close relationship with Fox News and Breitbart (which basically function as his own private media outlet), but it will still give him direct communication with a lot of people (giving him a chance to use it similarly to how Trump uses Fox and Breitbart). - Janus Bahs Jacquet (from comments)

  • What was the noun when you said X in your previous comment? I tried to search for the noun but I can’t see your comment. Thank you. – Mango Gummy Mar 12 '18 at 14:26
  • @MangoGummy Placeholder? – Lawrence Mar 12 '18 at 14:35
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    I’m not sure I agree this is the sense at play here. Response or direct reaction feels closer to the mark to me: it’s saying that Obama’s deal with Neftflix is not a direct answer/reaction/counter-measure to Trump’s close relationship with Fox News and Breitbart (which basically function as his own private media outlet), but it will still give him direct communication with a lot of people (giving him a chance to use it similarly to how Trump uses Fox and Breitbart). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 12 '18 at 18:08

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