March 25, 2009

Prompter Madness


So, can anyone tell me why these photos are supposedly indictable? And, it’s not just the right-wing harping on it, but the LAT (pic 1) and even AnnMarieCox (pic 2).

That the LAT politics blog attempted to raise the ante for Obama prime time news conference by calling out his Leno Special Olympics “gaffe,” implying that Obama somehow can’t trust himself to speak extemporaneously, is just plain idiotic. (By the way, where were they going by labeling the jpeg up above: “obamateleprompterap”?)

All the noise reprises a NYT story a few weeks ago hitting Obama’s use of the teleprompter for “message discipline.” If it’s true, however, his use of the device seems qualitatively different than the slavish use by McCain and Bush. In Obama’s case, he seems to go out of his way not to be misquoted. In McCain’s case, the teleprompter was more like a baby-sitter to mitigate McCain’s tendency to get defiant or angry and and say something offensive. In Bush’s case, his administration was so scripted that for eight years — at least, till that final press conference — nothing ever came out of his mouth that wasn’t either already memorized, written out on a teleprompter, a cue card or a sheet of paper.

The Cox photo does seem to offer a larger postscript, not just by gluing the device (and therefore, the story) to a couple of reporter’s heads, but by also making these reporters out (as is her signature) as creatures of a glaring culture.

And then: 200903251742.jpg200903251739.jpg

(image 1: Associated Press (LA Times caption: Obama with his ubiquitous teleprompter); image 2: AnaMarieCox TwitPics.)

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Michael Shaw
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