September 9, 2009

A Need for Balance

Obama BalanceWhile in route home from my youngest daughter’s soccer game, I looked at the clock and realized that the President’s address to a joint session of congress was underway.  I tuned to the news talk station to listen in.  There were people calling in and complaining about the healthcare plan, no Presidential address.  I scanned the entire AM bandwidth until it was clear the speech was not being carried live on any AM radio station that broadcasts in Albuquerque.

I turned over to my Sirius radio and “bam” there it was on CNBC and a host of other conservative and liberal outlets.
It is funny that a broadcaster gave me a reason to switch to satellite and it had everything to do with lack of meaningful content and nothing to do with commercials!

The teachable moment to my daughter brought to these random observations:

Everybody is talking, nobody is listening.  Instead of listening to the proposals, it was easier for a radio station to let listeners vent about the President’s plan instead of providing the opportunity to have them comment after they hear the President’s remarks.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.  During several election cycles, many broadcast VPs and General Managers have commented to me how the election advertising buys saved their month, quarter or year.  But after the election, a sitting President addresses a joint session of congress and it doesn’t warrant live radio coverage?  Instead, regular programming is the rule and a Presidential address to congress is no longer an exception?

The President loves his face time.  This President has had more “prime time” appearances during his first months in office than the last President had during his tenure.

Here is my dichotomy, on one hand I am bristled that I can’t hear the President of the United States address Congress; on the other hand, I can’t blame broadcasters for not carrying it because of all the airtime he’s sucked up already.

I understand the urgency of this President to get the issue in front of Congress before there is an expected majority change following the 2010 mid-term elections.  I also appreciate the same urgency of the minority to stall discussions as a long as possible, for the same perceived mid-term reasons.

Personally, I hope someone calls “do over” and we can have a process that engages the entire electorate with results that benefits all Americans without all the usual rhetoric.

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