The Speech: RFK or Adlai Stevenson?

As is so often the case Glenn Greenwald says it right when he describes this speech as a test of “Obama's faith in the reasoning abilities of the American public”.

I'll only add this: whether this is Obama's breakthrough moment, as it deserves to be, or his Adlai Stevenson moment depends on two things: first, whether the gatekeepers of old media, few if any of whom are friendly to Democrats, allow his rich and complex statements anywhere near a voter. I'm pretty dubious about that. The first news report I read was from AP. By Notorious Nedra Pickler. And it missed all the points, by some combination of malice, haste, and stupidity. On the other hand, the considered reactions of both the Washington Post and the New York Times are fair while not fawning. But it is still TV, broadcast and cable, and radio that reaches the largest audience. And on radio, one still can expect only the very worst.

The second chance comes from the Internet, which allows the candidate to bypass the filter. But will anyone outside the choir come to hear the preacher?

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4 Responses to The Speech: RFK or Adlai Stevenson?

  1. “comes from the Internet, which allows the candidate to bypass the filter.”

    Only to run into another filter – which, by the way, is arguably more sexist, racist, etc. than the median of the other one.

    I don’t have high hopes for this speech – “rich and complex statements” tend not to fair well except among very small pockets of intellectuals.

  2. James Joyner says:

    “gatekeepers of old media, few if any of whom are friendly to Democrats”


  3. The speech — whether intentionally or not — has no sound bites under eight seconds. This may have been a tactical maneuver to force stations running clips to actually handle an important issue at something higher than a third-grade comprehension level. It’s therefore unlikely that they’ll cover it beyond offering a brief and simplified summary.

  4. biff diggerence says:

    Adlai, please.

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