Ryan PowerPoint Media Format ‘Too Retro’?
One of the more interesting sidebar PR discussions regarding House Speaker Paul Ryan’s media event yesterday detailing his “three-pronged approach” to repealing and replacing Obamacare was the format itself.
A PowerPoint? skeptics asked. Ross Perot used charts in 1992, some said derisively. It’s old hat.
Donny Deutsch — with a solid, objective feel for the general zeitgeist, regardless of his political affiliation– said on Morning Joe that Ryan’s PowerPoint presentation was “a little too retro for my taste.”
But just the opposite is true: explaining complex policy in a public context requires deconstructing the central points, and then re-assembling with simple, straightforward explanation of how you achieve the objective.
That is what Ryan did — and he did it very, very well.
I keep MSNBC, Fox and CNN on all day in my office to monitor news and each cable net’s treatment of such, and it was striking that all three nets took Ryan’s PowerPoint presentation live for upwards of ten minutes. The only other politician I’ve seen who regularly exceeds that length of live time is the President himself — who routinely hijacks live coverage for lengthy, open-ended periods of time.
Ryan’s presentation, in its visual simplicity and earnest presentation, was compelling television — and that was proven in the news marketplace.
Further, there are still plenty of House members, media and special interest groups wholly unaware of the limitations associated with the reconciliation process — and why a three-step approach to unwinding President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is required.
If lawmakers, the media and special-interests are confused — the public is ultra confused.
The bottom line is Ryan’s presentation was effective — not simply because it caught cable nets’ attention for ten minutes plus — but because explaining, re-explaining, and explaining again is a baseline requirement for successfully moving such a complex, consequential piece of legislation.
Ryan has been conducting these PowerPoint presentations in the U.S. House behind closed doors for years — and he’s in his policy wonk element.
He should absolutely continue with this format moving forward for the simple reason: it works, and details matter.