Bush The Articulate -
By Jay Weidner
Many people are wondering how our President George W. Bush went from a stumbling,
error-prone, inarticulate speaker to a fairly coherent presenter, especially
in the last 9 months.
It has been known in most inside circles that our beloved President has dyslexia.
This fact further muddies the waters, as it is highly unlikely that a serious
reading disorder like dyslexia can be overcome, even with expert tutoring
and plenty of practice.
While watching a recent speech by our beloved President it became clear to
me what was really happening.
I noticed that his eyes never looked at the TelePrompTer. This is a device
that carries the written words of the speech on a TV monitor. The monitor
above the camera with the words of the speech rolling by. The person on the
screen reads the words and it appears as if they are staring right at the
it is done right it has a very folksy effect because it appears as if the
person on the TV is talking directly to you. President Ronald Reagan was
good at TelePrompTer reading. He did it so well that I believe this ability
was one of the major reasons for Reagan's many successes. He could stare
the camera while reading the TelePrompTer. It was like Uncle Ronnie was talking
straight to you. Reagan knew how to work the TelePrompTer like no one else.
As I watched Bush give his recent speech I realized that his eyes wandered
from right to left and from left to right. It was obvious that he was not
from a TelePrompTer. Also I noticed that there were long pauses between his
sentences. On queue he would look left and then right before beginning his
It soon became apparent to me what was going on and why President Bush had
suddenly become erudite.
As a Film Director I recognized immediately what was happening. After making
many documentaries, in all sorts of conditions, it is sometimes impossible
to use a TelePrompTer to assist the narrator. For instance, sometimes the
of the sun will blank out the words on the TelePrompTer screen, or there
may be a number of other technical glitches that get in the way of using
On these rare occasions when the TelePrompTer cannot be used, I, and others,
have used, instead, another device to help the narrator remember his dialogue.
Using a small earpiece a FM signal is broadcast into the ear of the narrator.
Another voice reads the dialogue and the signal is sent to the earpiece.
The narrator hears the words in his ear and uses this as his prompt.
There are several problems with this technique, which is why it is used only
rarely in films and documentaries: First, it should be said that the earpiece
prompt is usually a last ditch effort to prompt the narrator, or actor, while
shooting a film. Technical glitches aside, when a Director resorts to an
earpiece prompt it usually means that the narrator, or actor, has trouble
reading or remembering
their lines. Secondly, long pauses have to be built into the prompt and the
script. These pauses take place in between sentences so that the prompt does
too far ahead of the person speaking. Thirdly the script must be rewritten
for the earpiece prompt. The sentences must stay short and concise so that
or actor, does not get confused.
Is this what Bush is doing? My answer is a definite 'yes'. During this same
speech I watched as he immediately corrected a word that he had just mis-spoken.
encountered this before during film shoots using the earpiece prompt. This
is done because the speaker has gone slightly ahead of the earpiece prompt.
the mistake and then hears the correct word in his ear. He then corrects
himself and goes on like nothing happened.
Watch the next speech. Notice how he pauses between sentences. His eyes veer
robotically left and right. He then begins his next sentence. It is clear
to me that these pauses are placed into the speeches on purpose so that the
voice prompter does not get too far ahead of the President. Our beloved President
has become an articulate spokesman for the ruinous destruction of our country.
Isn't showbiz grand?