Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Death of the Oval Office Address?

I just watched the beginning of President Obama's Oval Office address regarding the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was surprised that I felt compelled to turn it off.

His words, as usual, seem on target, on message.  They had the right levels of muted anger toward BP, compassion toward Gulf region residents and business owners.

My issue, it seems, isn't with the content of the message, but with the medium.  Simply, I'm not used to seeing him perform this way.  I'm used to seeing the President behind the lectern or working the crowd in a "town hall" type of setting.

Today, the President wanted to do what those before him have done in times of national crisis.  He sought to leverage the gravity of the Oval Office.

I think he failed.

Today, we see him sitting behind a desk where his natural hand gestures seem comical and distracting, his reading of the Teleprompter, unnatural.  The result?  For me, it's the impression this man doesn't belong behind this desk.  He seems out of his element.  In some ways, too small.

Typically, I talk about the message.  I think President Obama should have paid more attention to the medium.

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