Thursday, January 29, 2004

As I was leaving the house early this mornig for my 6:30 meeting there was a segment on ABC's World News Now about how Howard Dean's wireless microphone was responsible for the outrageousness of this post-Iowa caucus speech.
So the reason that he has hired a new campaign manager and is asking his staffers to go without pay for two weeks is because of Mister Microphone?
Apparently, according to Diane Sawyer, the microphone Dr. Dean was using has some sort of device to screen out crowd noise so the speaker may be heard. Other clips were shown with microphones that were in the audience and Gov. Dean could barely be heard over the crowd noise.
While there may be a legitimate concerns over the coverage of the speech, there is a grain of truth to the underlying concern.

According to Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:

Political gaffes hurt only if they express something the media already want to convey. If brainy Bill Clinton, not Dan Quayle, had misspelled "potato," no one would have blinked. If mild Joe Lieberman had yelled on election night, it would not have been played ad nauseam. Not one of the words Dean used in his caucus-night screech was at all inflammatory; the power of the videotape was that it seemed to show the rage everyone had been told lay below.

How does the Mr. Microphone Theory explain this?
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