April 5, 2009

Obama’s 12-Teleprompter Entourage Is Not Newsworthy, or Humor-worthy

ObamaGlassNotes0309 On Monday, the UK’s Evening Standard, at its “This Is London” site, matter-of-factly noted the following in the final sentence of its report about President Obama’s upcoming European trip (bold is mine):

Accompanying the party will be a total of 500 officials including kitchen staff, 35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters.

This more than vindicates yours truly’s “President ‘Prompter” appellation.

It is beyond me how comedians can still claim, as many apparently did after the election, that they have little raw material to work with for poking fun at this guy.

They could even tell good jokes and break news at the same time. As has so often been the case with Obama’s gaffes and myriad foibles, the US media establishment has been nearly unanimous in ignoring the Standard’s teleprompter tidbit.

A Google News Search on “12 teleprompters” (not in quotes) from March 30 – April 5 came back with all of 15 results (Google’s total results returned claim of 24 at the link is incorrect).

A Scripps Howard News Service editorial makes up half of the results other than the original from the Evening Standard. That editorial wryly notes that “For sure, our president is not going to be at a loss for words.” It also makes a more serious point about the size of Dear Leader’s entourage, a point that I believe would have been widely touted had President Bush ever gone overseas with “with 500 staff in tow, including 200 Secret Service agents, a team of six doctors, the White House chef and kitchen staff with the president’s own food and water”:

The president is entitled to all the security, communications and support he feels necessary to do his job but surely, when we’re trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president’s huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from “Aida.”

I also did a Google News search on “twelve teleprompters” (in quotes) for the same date range and got one result, a First Read Blog item at MSNBC. There was no ‘prompter reference in the post. The only reason it appeared in the search was because of a reader’s comment.

To prove the obvious, I searched on “teleprompters” at the New York Times. Of course, there was no reference to the procession of ‘prompters. But the first result has a knee-slapper from writer Peter Baker:

Mr. Obama can be an exceptionally careful public speaker, to the point that he uses teleprompters more often than past presidents have ….

Oh stop it, Peter, you’re killin’ me.

Here is why he uses them, Peter, straight from John Crace at the UK Guardian (of all places; HT to NewsBuster commenter motherbelt). Crace whimsically probed Obama’s mind as he delivered a nails-on-the-blackboard response to a softball question from the BBC’s Nick Robinson.

Read the whole uproariously funny thing. It proves that there’s more than enough grist for the humor mill. The problem is a clear lack of willingness to swim against the PC tide on the part of the comedic wing of the supposed “truth to power” crowd.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. Handling powder-puff questions from a lazy media requires this guy to lay the ground work with prepared texts. He has to keep the worship going.

    Comment by MAS1916 — April 5, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Bush used teleprompters, and would usually only take softball questions from pre-screened townhall audiences.

    Its not Obama’s fault that he is more technically proficient then Bush.

    Comment by Dave — April 5, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  3. You know why the MSM is keeping quiet about about the teleprompter thing don’t you? W was constantly berated for a poor contemperaneous public speaking ability. Imagine if W had a teleprompter to help him out when he had a dry spot or forgot his lines/points. The real issue is the MSM’s double standard for judging someone’s intelligence. Obama can’t think on his feet, plain and simple whereas W could. Now who’s stupid and dull?

    Comment by dscott — April 5, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  4. #2, Your comment is sheer fantasy with no factual support.

    Obama’s pre-screening of townhall audiences is at least as strict as Bush’s, and probably moreso. One of Obama’s allowed group of questioners consisted of campaign backers.

    Did Bush ever need a teleprompter to introduce a Cabinet pick? I doubt it.

    Your challenge is to find an answer to a question of Bush that is as long, rambling, and incoherent as the one Obama gave that was mocked at the UK Guardian link provided.

    Until then, you’re out of arguments, and only embarrassing yourself.

    #3, your point …

    Obama can’t think on his feet, plain and simple whereas W could. Now who’s stupid and dull?

    … is exactly correct.

    #2, take note.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 5, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  5. [...] was cited a week ago at the UK’s Evening Standard, and noted yesterday at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog) were able to guide Obama’s dialect-challenged utterance in [...]

    Pingback by I don’t know what the term is in Zemblan | Pittsburgh Alpha to Omega — April 9, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

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