By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dean screamed

Why am I posting the most overplayed clip in American political history? Because Paul Krugman today writes in the New York Times, “Howard Dean didn’t scream.”

Krugman adds: “Again and again we’ve had media firestorms over supposedly revealing incidents that never actually took place.” Yes, we have. And I can go along with his other examples: Krugman correctly points out that Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet, Hillary Clinton did not say she was continuing to campaign because Barack Obama might be assassinated and Wesley Clark did not impugn John McCain’s military service. (Although Clinton’s and Clark’s remarks were impolitic in the extreme.)

But come on. Dean screamed.

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  1. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    Dean didn’t scream any more than any other politician delivering a speech in a crowded room; his microphone was directional and did not pick up the intensity of the crowd noise, so the image of Dean that is conveyed in the tape is not what it appears to be — and that’s Rule 001 of journalism, things reported must be what they appear to be.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Amused: Don’t believe the hype. Even if you’re right — and I think you’re wrong — he still ignored Politics 101 by speaking to the crowd and paying no attention to the television audience.There is one piece of this that the media generally do get wrong, though. Dean didn’t lose because he screamed. He screamed because he’d lost.

  3. Don, American

    . . . like a stuck pig.

  4. Sean Roche

    Dan,You’re stuck in the same groove as the media that Krugman is correctly criticizing. All of the media attention to Wes Clark’s remarks, and the point that stirs you to blog is whether or not Dean actually screamed?Clark’s comment was impolitic? By what standard? It was only impolitic to the extent that it caused political problems, which is largely a function of how the media responded.In the context of a discussion of McCain’s credentials to be president, Bob Schieffer noted that McCain had been shot down over Hanoi. Wes Clark made the obvious point that getting shot down doesn’t qualify you to be president.At some point a media critic has to stop pointing out that the media are going to jump all over a comment like Clark’s and ask whether the media should jump all over a comment like that.Until then, I guess it’s just easier to quibble with Paul Krugman about whether a candidate who didn’t even become the nominee in the previous election cycle screamed or didn’t.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: So, you disagree with Obama about Clark’s remarks? OK. BTW, please see my post here, which gets at the problem Clark caused.

  6. Larry

    A holler or a whoop, maybe — but not really a scream.

  7. APM

    To add insult to injury you have to use a FOX clip? Ouch. Dean certainly screamed but it also certainly wasn’t the maniacal scream it was portrayed to be by television. Actually, if I remember correctly, Diane Sawyer, in an interview with Dean, issued a bit of an apology and showed various bits of video, unedited, that showed the scream wasn’t nearly what it was when edited for television. When the original audio is played the scream is nothing. But when edited for television — meaning editing out the crowed and other ambient noise — the scream seems isolated and quite loud. That is why using a FOX television clip, or any other produced for television, is misleading.

  8. APM

    Here is a little proof that the episode on ABC is legit. I would also like to gratuitously point out that the article isn’t very friendly to my argument but nonetheless acknowledges the validity.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Oh, please. I watched it as it happened, and I don’t think I had the TV on Fox at the time. I distinctly recall thinking he was throwing a fit because he’d lost. Sorry, I’m writing this without having read the link you sent along. I’m going to stick with my eyes and ears.

  10. Sean Roche

    Issue #1 — Yes, I was wholly disappointed by the Obama campaign’s initial response and was slightly reassured when Obama started to walk back from the initial response and (kinda) defend Clark.Issue #2 — The other post doesn’t get to the problem. It addresses it in an unfortunately meta-fashion. “[T]rue but impolitic remarks”? They are only impolitic to the extent that the media enables the Clark-didn’t-play-fair meme. The appropriate response would have been to open a dialogue about the extent to which McCain’s military service prepares him to be president. Why aren’t more media demanding that McCain and his surrogates to explain how his heroic biography makes him fit to be president? It’s not like McCain doesn’t bring it up at every occasion. Why aren’t more media critics asking the question should Wes Clark’s comments be considered impolitic.

  11. ben

    I think the criticism of the media as it regards the Dean “scream” is that one is left with the impression that it was the impetus for his demise when, in fact, the “scream” took place after his campaign had been seriously hurt by the loss in Iowa.What should be discussed more is whether the Dean campaign laid the groundwork for the Obama campaign.

  12. Anonymous

    Paul Krugman, conveniently ignores Al Gores other whoppers. He and Tipper were the inspiration for Love Story. He discovered Love Canal. Don’t forget about the whopper about school overcrowding. Last but, not least, trying to prove he is an Alpha male, by making out with Tipper on stage.

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