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Cuban Missile Crisis—October 22, 1960

An interesting attribute of this message by John F. Kennedy is that he addresses both U.S. citizens and Cuban citizens. The message is broadcasted to both audiences.

84 Historical Political Speeches Medium

This speech was delivered via television as well as radio. Television was still emerging as a communication tool, and it integrated both audio and visual attributes. As we see sometimes even today, the president sat at his official table in the Oval Office, wearing a suit. So, the image of the president was very official.

Modal Attention Filtering

While the medium facilitates both audio and visual, the emphasis on the audio is clear, because the president does not stand or move about the room as he speaks. He sits at the desk throughout the entire speech; consequently, there is little visual distraction. Like the radio broadcast, the viewer focuses on the audio; however, the viewer does not have to imagine the speaker; he or she can clearly see the speaker. However, the viewer also sees only the president’s face and upper body generally as he reads the message; this filters the video portion of the message. The viewer can focus on a limited amount of visual information while listening to the words of his speech.

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