President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, hours before giving his State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Has State of the Union Lost its Relevancy?
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) As President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union Address, some wondered if there's any relevancy to the annual address at the Capitol.
The State of the Union in modern times has become a tightly controlled television event, says political strategist Michael Caputo. "The television cameras must obey very strict rules of what they can show and must not show," explains Caputo. "A lot of the things going as viewers you never see. There are catcalls, you can tell if you watch the speaker or key members how the speech is going over." Caputo says the television program has come about in the modern era, and it's television that turned it into a big event. "With the internet there are many people questioning whether that televised address is necessary anymore," says Caputo. He says the fact the State of the Union has become such a media frenzy it's been sapped of its value.
Bruce Bryski of SUNY Buffalo State says the State of the Union should be relevant, as it's an annual tradition. "However, we are living in such a partisan time right now, it has become less relevant because people don't pay attention to it anymore," notes Bryski. "It's become so political as evidenced by the Republican response (last) evening, that they're going to tear the president apart and say here's where his objectives are wrong, and here's where to go along with our ideas." Bryski says the partisanship has reached its peak with the Obama administration, though it started during the Clinton administration.
Bryski also believes depending on what channel you watch, you can pretty much figure out which network is going to say. "I'm sure Fox is going to have a different spin than CNN and MSNBC, and we'll know that spin before the address even begins," believes Bryski.