A couple of months ago, I re-discovered the National Public Radio (NPR) and decided to give listening to it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how many diverse topics they talk about and how entertaining as well as educating the discussions usually were. Now, I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of listening to NPR while driving to and from work.
This morning the talk was about the Tea Party. I have heard about the Tea Party (as in present-day usage) only a couple of times, that too in passing. Wiki tells me that the Tea Party movement
"is a United States grass-roots protest movement that emerged in 2009 and is opposed to the federal government's stimulus package, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."Anyhoo, the topic under discussion was the Tea Party convention currently being held in Nashville, Tennessee. The program host gave an informed overview of the movement, what it stood for and its ideals. Then the host started to interview one of the convention attendees, let's call her Lady, about the movement.
The first question was what she thought the movement stood for [note, I am paraphrasing the dialogs, my memory is not good enough to remember exact wording]. Lady said something along the lines of "It is against a big overseeing government" or some such. Then she bristled, "People are against the Universal Health Care bill because it is unconstitutional. It is against the law. THe government is trying to pass an unconstitutional bill."
Now, though I keep reading about the healthcare bill that Obama is promoting, I have not quite gotten my head wrapped around what its specifics are. But I was quite sure that I had not yet heard of it being an unconstitutional move. Sure enough, the radio host asked, "So in what way do you think the bill is unconstitutional?"
There was a flabbergasted silence from Lady. Evidently, whoever had filled her with passionate protest had forgotten to tell her exactly why she was filled with passionate protest! Lady finally rallied around with, "I am not sure about the exact part of the constitution it violates but if you look around in the constitution, you will find that it has a section stating it is invalid". WTH!?!
I rolled my eyes and am sure the radio host did too for he promptly switched over to another question to a different person.
My question is, when you are holding a convention, how difficult is it for you to find someone who is well-informed to talk to the media? After all, this person is supposed to be a representative of the attendees. If this is the best you can come up with, what impression does it give about the rest of the attendees?
Now I know why most organizations use only trained spokespersons to talk to the press and media!
p.s. I still don't know enough about the Tea Party to have an opinion about it one way or the other.