As is often my habit, I was sitting in an airport lounge recently, involved in one of my favorite business-travel entertainments— watching cable news with no sound. The folks on the big screen are engaged in what is possibly the least desirable interview format for participants: the “Brady Bunch” format, with several talking heads shown in boxes, speaking from different locations around the country.
As this checkerboard scene catches my eye, one woman is enlarged to full screen. The sound is muted, but her pained, deer-in-the-headlights look makes one thing clear: she is talking about something incredibly important— taxes, healthcare, Rocky Road ice cream or something like that. Her lips are tight. Her eyes dart from left to right. Her brow is furrowed. She frowns. Sometimes she glances upward, as if attempting to pull her next line out of the clouds. The image she projects is everything an on-air commentator should avoid. Her visual impression is shifty, tense and repellent. But, I’m sure she’s made some excellent points!
Seconds later, one of her partners in commentary gets the full-screen treatment. She is passionate. She simply glows. Her eyes sparkle. Her smile captivates and her teeth dazzle like something out of a toothpaste advertisement. She looks me right in the eye, and I am convinced that she is telling me the truth. Except, I don’t know what she’s saying, because the sound is muted. It doesn’t matter. She’s won my heart.