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Weekly Presidential Addresses No Longer Relevant, Argues Prof. Jeff McCall '76

November 9, 2010

16157November 9, 2010, Greencastle, Ind. — A story on the effectiveness of the weekly presidential addresses that are offered by President Barack Obama includes comments by Jeff McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University. "I don't know that he needs this forum," Dr. McCall tells Congressional Quarterly, noting that President Obama "is plenty visible in the media already. By now, I think they're just imprisoned by tradition."

"Since taking office in January of 2009, Obama has given 95 weekly addresses," reports Elham Khatami. "As with most recent presidents, they were written for the radio, though few stations bother to air the addresses any more. Obama's team updated the concept by adding video and posting them on YouTube. The most-viewed video, his very first weekly address on Jan. 24, 2009, has been seen more than 1.2 million times. But viewership has since decreased steadily. Since May of last year, no video has had more than 100,000 views and most have been closer to 20,000, numbers far below the millions of his campaign videos. Some presidential watchers wonder if the time for the weekly radio address has passed."5733

"The topics have been superficial and tangential," Professor McCall states. "It seems to me that the President is not passionate about these messages. When you've got one of these to do every week, it just becomes a routine chore. They come off as rather tired and boring."

You'll find the full article at Congress.org.

A 1976 graduate of DePauw, Jeffrey M. McCall is the author of Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences and has been cited in articles published by more than 100 newspapers. On October 9 he discussed the future of PBS with the Los Angeles Times.

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