July 7, 2008

McTownhall Versus McTeleprompter


Back in early April, if you recall, we took a look at McCain’s visit to his old high school.  The key feature of the WAPO’s lead image was McCain reading off a teleprompter.  The BAG’s take at the time had to do with how robotic such an otherwise personal and emotional situation turned out to be.

In the intervening months, culminating with a NYT piece this past Sunday (McCain Battles a Nemesis, the Teleprompter), it’s clear this device has become a central symbol of McStrain’s campaign.  More specifically, the use of the rolling script has become a painful and dreaded tool that McCain, otherwise a completely loose cannon, cannot avoid.

In spite of the WAPO shot last April, the visual media has mostly bypassed scenes of McCain in tortured tether to his gaffe-prevention, large-type babysitter.  If you check the newswire, however, the examples are not hard to find.  This shot, taken in New York at a window distributor a week after the school visit, is a particularly blatant illustration.  The crowd is tiny, the screen is close, the cameras are many and the eye contact with the machine is, well, like glue.

The problem at this point, however — as the NYT chronicles — is that McCain’s ineptness on the stump (out of a  resistance to scripting, and thus, the machine) is proving almost as toxic as what comes out of the mouth of McTownhall when whoever-the-campaign manager-of-the-moment-happens-to-be just lets McCain be McCain.

McCain Battles a Nemesis, the Teleprompter (NYT)

video: John McCain’s Presentation Gap (NYT)

(image: Chris Hondros/Getty Images. April 10, 2008. Brooklyn, New York.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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