Steele vs. Obama on the economic plan

While I was watching my news subscription clips on YouTube today I noticed that the AP had posted a clips of both Obama and RNC Committee Chairman Michael Steele talking about the economic stimulus package.

I don’t know anything about macroeconomics but I do know about film making and thought it would be kind of interesting to compare and contrast the qualities of the videos themselves:

Like I said, I don’t really know much about macroeconomics so I’m not really going to try to compare and contrast their competing policies. Instead, I’m going to talk about what I do know about and compare and contrast the quality of the videos themselves and what it might mean.

Obama is probably the most image conscious and media savvy president we’ve ever had. You can tell that people really paid very careful attention to how the video was going to look, from the meticulous composition to the way the intensity of the “practical” lamp in the background is perfectly balanced so as to not overpower the foreground while providing a motivating light source, all signs point to much greater attention to detail than what you’d normally expect from TV news interviews. Steele’s video on the other hand looks more like a high school media club’s parody of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update”.

They both go for multiple camera angles, with Steele doing the classic TV pundit’s “turn and look” for emphasis, while Obama went for the much more cinematic medium shot and close up. And we see Obama going widescreen vs. Steele in the old-school 4:3.

My first reaction to that was to say that maybe this shows that the Republicans are just some old guys who are out of touch with the times, after all, Bush didn’t feel any need to shoot his weekly radio addresses on video, and his TV addresses were very straightforward, shot from just one shot from one angle with simplistic lighting and no editing. Maybe he was spending too much time (doing a bad job of) working to be bothered with getting into make up every week for a radio address?

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if Obama’s videos are looking a little bit too professional, and maybe a little bit too cinematic (or maybe like a commercial?). We are after all living in real life and not a movie, and I wonder if there is any substance behind all of this style? It’s really too early to say.

Even if Obama turns out to be all fake and a complete sham, it looks like the Republicans are failing miserably at trying to keep up in the fake sham game, which is pathetic in its own way. It is as if the Republicans are trying to project an image of being media savvy without actually trying to acquire any of that media savvy– so they just copy what they see the other guy doing. I can just picture a bunch of crusty old white guys sitting in a room thinking, “Hey, let’s get a black guy and multiple camera angles so we can do the multiple camera angle thing too and get some of that MTV generation’s attention!” and just missing the point completely.

So while I cannot tell you which of these two guys is right about what to do about the economy, two things that seem very clear to me are that for better or for worse, Obama is very meticulous about crafting his public image, and the Republicans, for better or for worse, are trying to keep up, and not doing a great job of it, either.


This entry was posted in Media, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.