Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pet Peeve: The herd/group-think effect on major national addresses

Barack Obama's address before Congress last night? A masterful, positive, Reagan-esqe soliloquy, right? Barack Obama? This generation's premier orator, right?

Bobby Jindal's GOP response? Dry, boring and wonkish, right? It was unfortunate for him he had to follow Obama, right? Poor guy just didn't have a chance, but he has plenty of time recover to resurrect his political future, right?

If you caught any of the coverage last night that was your opinion. It was your opinion because it was the opinion of everyone else -- Republican or Democrat; right or left; elephant, donkey, rino or blue dog. If you don't have the same opinion, obviously there is something wrong with you.

I didn't watch either speech -- on purpose. It took some discipline, because coverage was everywhere. I found myself switching between college basketball and Family Feud reruns. It's not that I wasn't interested. I just wanted to form my own opinion instead of being neatly herded into the corrals set up well before the speeches had been delivered.

This is how it works. The person giving the speech (in this case President Obama) withholds the speech from the public until perhaps 1 hour before it is delivered. In the mean time, Obama's press crew lay the subliminal message foundation of what they want you to hear by leaking abstract observations to the press. The press then hits the airwaves with their "insider information." This creates the group-think of what you will take from the speech. All that's left is finding and quoting verbatim lines that backup your predetermined opinion of the speech.

Yesterday, how many times did you hear this speech was going to be positive and Reagan-esque? How many times did you hear that Obama was a wonderful orator? How did the pundits find the speech after delivery? I'm sure they received it as a positive, Reagan-esque speech delivered wonderfully.

I have become a fan of reading transcripts. I recommend you do the same in order to remove the media pundit filter and personally evaluate the emperor's clothing.


President Obama:

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