March 12, 2009

THE QUINTESSENTIAL AMERICAN VIRTUE, PLAINSPOKENESS:

An American Giant (Steve Forbes, 3/11/09, Forbes)

Paul Harvey was similarly dismissed by elitists as simplistic and corny. But this seeming simplicity masked the achievements of a communications genius. No broadcaster before or since has matched Harvey's ability to make listeners feel he was actually conversing with them. He spoke to you, not at you. Yes, Harvey had a resonant voice, was known for his trademark pauses and packed a lot of information into his twice-daily "News and Comment" broadcasts. Yet his delivery was given at a relaxed pace. He knew the value of personal stories (Harvey once did a touching tribute to my father's service in WWII), which can offer powerful moral lessons. Like Winston Churchill, Harvey knew the power of brief, declarative sentences. He was a wordsmith, coining or popularizing such terms as "skyjackers" and "guesstimate." He laced his plain-talk broadcasts with humor. One of his classics: "White House occupants come and go. They are just like diapers. They should be changed often, and for the same reasons."

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 12, 2009 4:25 PM
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