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“You can hear me, but you can’t see me because I’m on the other side of Dr. Goolsbee’s white board,” an invisible Mr. Hennessey explains at the start of his video. Then he interjects running commentary into Mr. Goolsbee’s video to give viewers what he calls the other side of the story.

Macon Phillips, director of Mr. Obama’s “new media” team, says the white-board videos are designed to give ordinary Americans access to the same sort of primer that Obama economists already deliver to White House staff members. More videos are planned, and other administration officials could take a turn in front of the white board.

“We’re getting beneath a certain sound bite and really unpacking these issues in a way that anybody can understand,” Mr. Phillips says.

The videos are deliberately unpolished, featuring hand-drawn charts rather than slick graphics.

Kathleen Jamieson, an authority on political communications at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center, says they’re like a quick Econ 101 course, which is “a good impulse.”

And in a time of economic stress, she says, the low-tech “chalk talk” approach is more effective than a polished ad that could invite backlash.

But Miss Jamieson also says Mr. Goolsbee at times uses “selective evidence” or leaves out key points, giving people an incomplete picture. For example, she says, the video on taxes creates a misimpression that Mr. Obama wants to end Bush-era tax cuts only for millionaires, and the job-growth video doesn’t explain why unemployment has remained high, even as the number of private-sector jobs has grown.