Why teleprompters are a good thing


You are probably as sick as I am of the Republican jabs at President Obama for daring to use a-- gasp!-- teleprompter. Not only is it a typically lame, weak criticism, but teleprompters are something that even hypocritical GOP speakers rely on, and for good reason. Why, here's a good reason now!

Via Cincinnati.com:

John Kasich’s second State of the State speech Tuesday was rambling and at times bizarre. Among his head-jerking references, Kasich told the first three winners of a newly-created state courage award not to sell the medals on eBay; pointed out his “hot wife;” and imitated someone with Parkinson’s disease when he talked about “deep brain massage.” [...]

Kasich, as usual, did not write out his speech and used no teleprompter.

Looks like it's time for me to dust off my trusty teleprompter primer:

Let’s review: When you give a big important speech that will be watched by the entire world, “winging it”, or even attempting to memorize it, would be reckless and not too wise.

Every word, every syllable is parsed. Experts in any given field use notes for speeches. Who wouldn’t?

Memorizing that much is cumbersome and time-consuming, especially for someone who must repeatedly address crowd after crowd on any number of topics.

Nor would I want the president of the United States to spend his valuable time and energy studying words instead of the urgent issues at hand.

And guess what? Teleprompters allow the speaker to keep his nose out of a pile of papers, so that said speaker can address his/her audience directly. We teach that in basic acting/speech/cold reading/you name it. It’s common knowledge and common sense. It’s not exactly an audience pleaser to continually show nothing but the top of your head to your viewers.

However, question and answer sessions are quite another matter. Thorough knowledge of multiple subjects is mandatory. Answering questions off the cuff, being well-prepared, engaging your questioners all require a head full of facts and information.

A few notes might be helpful for occasional reference, although it’s preferable not to use one’s palm when there is so much paper available.