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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Same as it ever was

The reviews of Barack Obama's Twitter Town Hall are in and the word from the dead tree media: harrumph.

The tweaking was bipartisan: Too verbose, whined the Boston Herald. "For Obama, Brevity is Not the Soul of Twitter," scolded the New York Times in a headline that clocked in at a terse 45 characters.

Well duh.

Ever since Dwight Eisenhower "Answers America" in 1952 by taking questions from "ordinary citizens," politicians have used props to get their message across without the pesky filter of reporters. Richard Nixon moved the bar to new levels in 1968 when held forth among a hand-picked studio audience, a gimmick introduced by a young political operative named Roger Ailes.

Not to mention it's ludicrous to think the problems facing America can be defined and resolved in 140 characters. If anything, we could use more thinking and less posturing, such as the statement, er make that question, offered by House Speaker John Boehner.

It's likely reporters had their knickers in a bunch because another president has found another way to go over their heads and reach voters directly. And yes, the questions may be softballs compared to some of the hard-hitting queries that come from the media -- like what do you think about the latest poll results. But the questions reflect what really is on "average" folks minds.

No one expected Obama to commit news yesterday. And the Twitterverse still has different priorities. POTUS has yet to crack the 9 million follower mark, putting him a distant third behind Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber -- although he did surge ahead of Britney Spears. And he's well ahead of the total number of Fox News viewers.

So a word to my media friends: chill out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see (and I don't expect to) any politician go up against that random encounter facebook site and allow everyone to watch. Maybe in a few years we will have a politician (Rep or Dem) honest enough to take the heat, and a population discerning enough to see the "other side" of every question, even if they don't agree with it.

July 07, 2011 8:37 AM  

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