February 17, 2009

The Manchurian Podium...

This story about a new press-conference podium with built-in computer screen to feed words to the supposedly eloquent Obama made me laugh.

Can you just imagine the SNL skit that could be made, with someone like our friend Andrea hacking into the Obam's magic podium, and feeds the poor creature conservative good-sense during his "press conferences?"

The American Spectator : In All Fairness:

...One wouldn't know it from reading the Washington Post or New York Times, but some inside the White House don't think that President Barack Obama hit a home run with his first national press conference last week.

"It looked scripted beyond the scripted part, the speech," says one former communications adviser, who has been feeding notes and suggestions to the White House team and worked with them on the inauguration. "Every president has gone into one of these things knowing that there were some pre-arranged questions or journalists to be called on, but this one was pretty ham-handed."

To that end, he says, the White House is looking to install a small video or computer screen into the podium used by the president for press conferences and events in the White House. "It would make it easier for the comms guys to pass along information without being obvious about it," says the adviser. The screen would indicate whom to call on, seat placement for journalists, pass along notes or points to hit, and so forth, says the adviser.

Using a screen is nothing new for Obama; almost nothing he said in supposedly unscripted townhall events during the presidential campaign was unscripted, down to many of the questions and the answers to those questions. Teleprompter screens at the events scrolled not only his opening remarks, but also statistics and information he could use to answer questions.

"It would be the same idea with the podium," says the adviser.

Obama had a teleprompter set up for his remarks last week, before taking questions, but the White House couldn't use the teleprompter for anything but the remarks, because the journalists were so close to the screens. Further complicating matters, teleprompter copy can't be easily updated in real time, in a setting like a White House press conference...
Posted by John Weidner at February 17, 2009 8:28 AM
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