SOTU, Television, the Radio, & the Internet

On January 28, millions of spectators gathered to listen President Barack Obama deliver the 2014 State of the Union address live from Washington’s Capitol Hill. Viewers tuned in from all types of electronic devices ranging from televisions and computers to mobile phones and tablets. The White House live streamed the president’s sixth annual speech to congress and the nation through its official website and YouTube channel. Several television networks aired the event as well. The delivered speech focused on the environment, equal pay, immigration reform, gaps in social classes, and health care costs and benefits. And the nation expressed their opinions with the use of social networks, commentating and debating on the various points made by the president. With the advancement of technology, everyday more and more people are able to connect with each other.

Traveling back ninety-one years ago, on December 6th president Calvin Coolidge delivered the first radio broadcast of the State of the Union address. Strengthening nationwide ties as families gathered around, not a television, but a radio. The SOTU speech Coolidge delivered began by honoring former president Warren G. Harding. Mr. Coolidge focused part of his speech on the limitation of child labor and supported minimum wage for women. While recently, President Obama stressed the importance of equal pay; “When women succeed, America succeeds.”

Sixty-seven years ago on January 6th, President Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised broadcast of the SOTU address. Mr. Truman established the need for a national health program that would provide medical attention to all of its citizens “On the basis of payments made by the beneficiaries of the program.”- SOTU, Truman 1947 The nation viewed the president as he spoke to congress. 1972 was the year colored television finally surpassed the sales of black-and-white televisions (according to the Federal Communication Commissions), therefore the majority intensively gazed at their black and white screens.

In 2002, President George W. Bush participated in the first live webcast of the SOTU address. Delivered four months after the terrorist attacks on September 11, president George Bush centered his address to congress on foreign affairs. Here, he introduced the “axis of evil” composed of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. President Bush also touched upon homeland security, aiming to focus on emergency response, bio terrorism and airport and border security. His speech reflects his aspiration to improve early childhood development programs and teacher development (training).

Today, we have the ability to participate throughout the President’s speeches and take advantage of our freedom of speech. We can listen, watch, or read through the message to Congress by making a simple search on the internet. As technology has been modified throughout the years, America’s main concerns have also shifted.


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