But, seriously, should a President continue delivering them? We know what they’re going to say and we even know the proposals he will make because they were leaked to be test-driven during the weeks’ long lead up to the speech. We know it’s a political positioning statement aimed as much at the next election as at the next five years of our country’s progress. It is theater, basically. All three networks and a bunch of cable news channels cover it live, which is why a president will never give up the opportunity – free TV time! You get not only the 45 minutes to an hour to deliver the speech, you also get the 10-15 minutes before and after as the President walks into and out of the hall, mobbed by a bunch of Congressmen who want to be in the same picture as the President to show their constituents back home how very close they are to the man.
But fewer and fewer of us tune in. In fact, that brings me to another point. After tonight’s speech the President will be interviewed not by a network news anchor or even a key White House reporter. He will be interviewed by several folks whose names you or I won’t know, but who draw, combined, bigger online audiences than the networks combined. Yes, he will be interviewed by YouTube personalities!
So, we have a speech that is politically driven, which will feature guests sitting next to the First Lady for highest political impact, that will lay out proposals, few of which will ever see the light of a bill-signing pen, and then, we’ll hear someone who yesterday posted a video on how to throw a glittery New Year’s Eve Party interview the President.
I get why the President is doing the interviews…read up a few lines where I say the YouTubers will get him more eyeballs that the TV stations. I’m not sure if the person who watched the New Year’s party video is the target audience but it must be since this White House has decided that’s the plan.
So, I think a national debate on if we should still have a prime time State of the Union address would be a good thing. Does anyone have YouTube’s Grumpy Cat’s email address so I can see if he’ll start that ball rolling?