Obama’s 4th of July Week Buzz Kill: How a Simple Shower Curtain Upstaged the President’s No-News Conference

As seen in Commpro.bizWay back in olden times, when I was a journalism major at Georgia State University, I was taught that a news conference was a big deal. It meant that someone had, well, some important news to share. I guess I missed class the day the professor added, “Just kidding!”

Much Ado about Nothing

This all came back to me last week when I heard daytime programming was interrupted for a Presidential news conference from the White House. I was not actually able to watch the live telecast, but as soon as I could, and thanks to YouTube, I made a point to view it later that day. But, one hour, seven minutes, and thirty-two seconds later, I was still waiting for the “news” part. I did not hear anything about new developments, different strategies, innovative solutions, or new problems.

Instead, the President’s news conference was pretty much just a recap of the same old, frustrating issues and concerns we have been hearing about the past several months: Oil companies are getting rich from subsidies; millionaires are getting tax breaks on their fancy jets, and Congress is dragging its feet and doing nothing to move things forward on the debt crisis. Again, no real news there, but talk about a buzz-kill just before the July 4th holiday weekend! Gee, thanks, Mr. President.

Overall Grade: C-

In general, I was bored. It seemed I was not the only one. President Obama looked preoccupied and sounded unfocused. His vocal delivery had little inflection and his facial expressions were blasé. Even his trademark, staccato delivery was more prominent, making him sound as though he was winging it. The most attention grabbing part of the news conference was the gold shower curtain from a Mumbai Enco Lodge used as a backdrop. I do not know who picked that, but where is Nate Berkus when you need him?

The “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” Tactic

In retrospect, perhaps the purpose of the President’s news conference was to publically chide Congress into action on the debt ceiling August 2nd deadline. Criticizing their schedule he said, “They’re in one week they’re out one week…You need to stay here…Let’s get it done.” He added that even his two young daughters know the importance of doing their homework early and not pulling all-nighters.

Take that! The insult must have worked. The following day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the cancellation of their July 4th recess. Now, if we actually see any genuine progress being made, that will be a reason to have a real news conference. Stay tuned.