Thursday, May 28, 2009

White House Briefing 'Laugh Count'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is far outpacing his recent predecessors in terms of instances of laughter during the daily briefs. The White House stenographer uses "(Laughter.)" to indicate the laughter in the transcript. In his first four months, Gibbs has averaged more then ten such indications a day. That is a total of more then 600 such incidents.

How does this compare to recent White House press secretaries' first four months?
(Robert Gibbs - 600+)
Dana Perino - 57
Scott McClellan - 66
Tony Snow - 217

Why is Obama's first spokesman laughing it up with the reporters significantly more than G. W. Bush's more recent people? There really is no agreed upon answer. There are a few thoughts on the matter though. One theory is that it is because the reporters have more political affinity with Obama's policies the Bush's. Another is that Gibbs is just funnier, or at least more comfortable making a joke, then Bush's people. It may also have something to do with the larger audience Gibbs has then then Bush's last few with more people in the audience willing to play along.

I do not think this is of any real significance, it is just stylistic differences between White House press secretaries. This only becomes problematic if someone injects humor inappropriately into a situation.

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