President Obama’s State of the Union address is in a few hours. There’ll be plenty of places to get live commentary: arguments, counter-arguments, facts, misinformation. For the first time, the president’s site is one of them. Presenting the “enhanced” SOTU.
While Obama’s delivering the SOTU address, WhiteHouse.gov is not only going to stream it live, it’s going to be showing “charts, graphs and other content” alongside Obama’s speech. It’s the “first time ever” the White House is doing this, dropping live supporting data while the president’s speechifying.
It’s a significant acknowledgement of the way we really consume and digest media today, particularly when we’re watching TV. Something like three out of four Americans use the internet while watching TV, according to Nielsen. And when it comes to significant live events like news or sports, we’re often using the internet to supplement what we’re seeing on TV, to see real-time commentary, whether it’s a liveblog or an un-ending Twitter stream. (You’ll be able to ask questions on Twitter immediately after the SOTU speech, too, replying to @whitehouse with the hashtag #sotu. And on Thursday, Obama’s answering questions on YouTube that you can submit here.)
The White House would grossly creaky to not try to pull the online momentum its way, particularly when you see mind-numbing statistics like fewer than one in 10 people had realised Obama cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans before the mid-term elections in November.
Obviously, the numbers the White House shows for its “enhanced” State of the Union address are going to be more favourable toward its positions than not. On the other hand, in this political climate, how many people are going to believe them anyway? [White House]