It’s still the one night of the year when the American president can count on commanding the country’s attention in prime time, his best opportunity to pound home a message and push an agenda.
Yet there’s also something oddly retro about the State of the Union address that President Obama will deliver on Tuesday — something that belongs to the last century, like compact discs and appointment television. While the speech will give Mr. Obama an opportunity to extol his record on health care and financial regulation, it may also serve to remind us of how surprisingly little he has accomplished when it comes to bringing presidential communication into the broadband age.
That’s not to say the White House isn’t trying. In fact, the president distributed a video preview of his speech to supporters over the weekend. And Mr. Obama’s advisers have scheduled a series of interactive online events for the days after the speech, his second State of the Union, highlighted by a presidential interview with questioners on YouTube.
Answering questions online, however, really just amounts to the same kind of televised town hall that presidents have been doing since the dawn of the broadcast era, except that now you watch it on a different kind of screen. Like his predecessors, Mr. Obama interacts from time to time with a few highly motivated voters at such events, but he has yet to find a new way to make himself accessible or compelling to the wider electorate online.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
See the excerpt below from a New York Times story by Matt Bai. Agree or disagree?