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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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By on March 5, 2014 in The Way I See It

March 5, 2014

The Weekly Address

In the book Future Talk, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin told me she hoped the president would no longer do a weekly address because Americans don’t sit around their radios and listen, adding that it takes away from speeches, which are more important. Too much of a good thing….

Well, the weekly address is still made by the president as well as the opposing party. It’s no longer done live (I used to spend Saturday mornings at the White House to produce the president’s address back in those days telling the president “Go!” Other weekends I was at a radio studio to produce the opposing party’s address (yep, also done live). Today, it’s recorded, available on the web, seen on You Tube every Saturday as of 6 A.M. and rarely, very rarely, makes news of any kind.

As someone who edits these for network radio every Saturday, I have some experience saying news is lacking in these things. Usually, it’s the president saying he wants the other side to agree with him on a program. And a majority of the time, the republicans  parade a member of Congress in front of a camera telling stories about how someone in their district has been hurt by Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act). In fact, the House has voted more than 40 times to get rid of Obamacare and will vote in the next few days to reduce the penalty for not having health insurance at all (they say the website catastrophe has made it difficult to enroll so they want the penalty to be $0 instead of $95).

You know, there’s a line about saying it again and again and again and people will tune out. Guess what?

Note to GOP Chairman Reince Priebus: Have a Republican suggest changes to the existing act instead of throwing the whole thing out. The Affordable Care Act is the law. In the next weekly address, offer to meet with the White House to discuss specific proposed changes. The way it’s done now, the viewer/listener feels like their witnessing a verbal “I dare you” kind of fight in the back of the school bus. Blowing it up isn’t a solution and spending every week telling people who are numb or not paying attention is a complete waste of everybody’s time. Don’t use the weekly address to sing to the choir; instead get the non-believers to learn the words

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