The screams we didn't hear


Geraldine Sealey
January 30, 2004 1:41AM (UTC)

We've heard how Howard Dean rose and fell by the Internet, and now there's evidence that he was tripped up by yet another tool of the modern age -- the directional mike. After watching Dean's Iowa screech speech over and over again, as we all did that week, Diane Sawyer and her staff noticed the governor was using a microphone much like the ones they use in the Good Morning America studios. The mike is special because it blocks out background noise. That's why, despite the full room of 3,000 shrieking, orange-hatted supporters, the only thing you heard on the Dean scream replays, car alarms and dance mixes was his infamous yell. The Note said of Sawyer's story: "If you saw Diane Sawyer's incredible 'World News Tonight' show closer last night (and on GMA again this morning) -- about how the network tape showing Dean's 'I Have a Scream' speech was totally misleading because of Dean's use of a directional mike you realize how easily a presidential campaign can be done in by the quirks of injustice."

In the ruinous wake of the speech and its echo on the Web, late-night TV, network television and talk radio, Deaniacs on the scene caucus night also tried to tell us that the scream was no big deal if you were actually there. But it's all over but the shouting that will live forever on tape -- and few will probably ever remember that a directional mike had anything to do with it.

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Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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