I feel compelled to offer a short commentary on the state of the union; not the President’s speech, but rather the media’s response to the speech, the day after. In my opinion, what I see in the media this morning is itself a sad commentary on the state of the media, which unfortunately is all many ever get to see of the union itself. If perception is reality, our reality is what shows up on our TV and computer screens.
It seems to me that either no one was listening, or if the media was listening, it appears that they would rather have you listen to them than to the President. For one thing, it was clear to me that having just presented his Iraq plan a few days ago, he didn’t need to address it again last night. However, apparently that’s all anyone wants to talk about, as the vast majority of the reporting focused only on Iraq. Bush had a lot to say on a number of other topics, which were only given perfunctory attention.
Then, of course, you balance the space given to the President’s 50-minute speech with that given to a 7-minute response by a fledgling Senator (interesting choice by the Democrats), which again focused almost totally on Iraq. I have to say that the initial responses by the TV media was fairly even-handed; that is, until Jim Webb spoke, and then they all seemed to develop memory lapses.
In case anyone is confused, the state of the union is that there are issues other than Iraq. That’s not to say we ignore Iraq (in fact, no one could make the claim that Iraq is being ignored); however, the State of the Union address is the place to discuss those other issues.
I also noted that within 1/2 hour of the Address, the Democratic Presidential hopefuls were taking pot-shots at each other, trying to establish why their opposition to the President’s Iraq policy is better than the other’s opposition. Give me a break, people. This does nothing to increase my faith in the state of politics.
In my opinion, the state of Union seems pretty sound, and our future looks hopeful. The state of the media is at best questionable. My assessment of the state of National politics is that it pretty well sucks. On the bright side, by 8 p.m. most people had turned off CNN and were watching American Idol.
Just a short p.s.: CBS reported that in their poll taken after the speech, 80% of the viewers approved of the proposals made by the President, essentially the same figure reported after the prior 2 SOTU speeches. So, at least some people listened…