13 May 2011 Despite Practice, Obama “Town Halls” Fail to Gain Universal Applause
President Obama did a live “town hall” yesterday (I put “town hall” in quotes because he did it at CBS).
Presumably it came off well on TV. When CNBC hosted one of these last fall, CNBC live-blogged the event, revealing the CNBC host, John Harwood, required the audience to practice clapping before the President’s arrival to make sure its members did it loud enough:
Okay, it’s more than 200 people here, official tally is 227. They’ve just been told they’re on live TV for an hour.
They are getting a bit of a pep talk — “we want you to look interested.” They just practiced applauding. First time not loud enough. They did it again. Now I’m deaf. Wow, even that wasn’t enough. They did it again. It was louder — 7 on scale of 10. Okay, it was an 8 for me.
I don’t know if CBS required its audience to practice applauding, but I do know the President did not receive universal applause from viewers outside CBS. Project 21’s Kevin Martin, for example, had this reaction:
While President Obama can try to lecture the private sector on jobs and profits, the truth of the matter is that his authority is tainted by the fact that this is a president who has never really held a job in the private sector. Furthermore, the economic beliefs he and his supporters seem to cling to are nothing but anti-business in intent. If President Obama believes that private sector business want to do more with less in order to take in more profits, then he has no understanding of how business works.
As a small business owner, I must balance expenses. Small businesses such as mine have been able to survive by doing things such as going paperless, allowing workers to split and share hours rather than laying them off and recycling or repairing equipment rather than replacing it.
Business owners are doing what they can to survive in the current tax-and-regulate anti-business atmosphere embraced by the Obama Administration. I have always said if government was indeed run like a private sector business, it would have been out of business a long time ago. For a president with no real private sector experience to lecture the business community on profit and job creation is hypocritical and even narcissistic!
Reactions like this from Americans neither employed by nor chosen by the mainstream media are probably why the President very often likes to hold his “town halls” in tightly-controlled venues such as Dan Rather’s alma mater and the sister network of MSNBC.