Why all the fuss about Mrs. Palin Writing Speaking Notes on her Hand?

Posted: February 8, 2010 in Random Observations
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here I sit, listening to Sean Hannity. I know the phrase “broken-hearted” fits in there somewhere . . .

So anyway, Hannity has spent his entire show so far (forty-one minutes so far) bloviating on two topics (and, of course, promoting his television show).

The first? When she gave her speech at the Tea Party Convention Saturday evening, Mrs. Palin apparently used neither teleprompter nor notes – what’s called, in the trade, “impromptu.”  Except, that is, for a half-dozen words she wrote herself on her hand. Some reporters and commentators reported unfavorably on that, and that’s what has Hannity’s knickers all knotted up.

The other thing that Hannity’s hollering about is that President Obama, giving a speech recently about American rescue efforts in Haiti and using the teleprompter, as is his habit, mispronounced the word “corpsman.”

Here’s the problem. At Carson Long, I learned in Major Holman’s Bible and Public Speaking class that professional speakers use clearly written notes – perhaps on regular paper, perhaps on note cards. He made it specifically clear, in fact, that notes weren’t to be written on the hand, for a few reasons – ink runs, for example, and smears and blurs. And complex ideas sometimes don’t always lend themselves to that sort of compaction.

It’s good for Mrs. Palin that she didn’t have to ask for help deciphering her hand – but she would appear far more professional if she’d just placed a single sheet of paper on the lectern with those six words, and just glanced at it from time to time.  At the Tea Party convention, she was pretty much preaching to the choir and would have gotten away with anything, but she’s got to remember that if she wants to build her credibility to enhance her standing as a potential candidate for President some time in the future, she ought to avoid projecting an image of herself as some teenager writing a friend’s telephone number on her palm.

As for Obama, I think he’s suffering from some terrible staff work. Many of the gaffes that have embarrassed him could have been prevented by better staff work. Nevertheless, a President has to be able to pronounce words like “corpsman,” it’s just one of those unwritten rules.

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