My congressman, Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois, embarrasses me. His “Walsh to Obama: Quit Lying” YouTube video is painful to watch. Hey Joe, its one thing to be angry about raising the debt ceiling, but at least raise your audio quality – it totally sucks!

Joe Walsh (not to be confused with the musician of the same name) is the Congressional representative of the 8th district of Illinois. (I’m actually just a few miles out of his district, so technically he’s not actually my own representative, but more like nearest neighbors.) Just yesterday Walsh’s office posted this new video to his YouTube channel that made the mainstream television talk show circuit by that same evening. Below is their description text of that same video…

President Obama, quit lying. You know darn well that if August 2nd comes and goes there is plenty of money to pay off our debt and cover all social security obligations.”

It would be fair to call this politician’s speech in the video as an angry rant, perhaps to put it mildly. Yet regardless of your political bent or opinion on what’s appropriate behavior for a politician, I think most video professionals would cringe at how poor Joe’s audio sounds throughout, which only serves to downgrade the effectiveness of whatever message he wanted to get across, and people he’s trying to win over.

What SUCKS about Rep Joe Walsh’s Web Video:

  • Bad audio
  • Bad lighting
  • Bad contrast
  • No closed captioning
  • Poor body language – shoulders hunched over

GRANT’S RANT: My Advice for Congressmen and Other Elected Officials on How to Make Political Web Videos That Don’t SUCK…

So Joe, you say you want a balanced budget? Try doing a balanced video production! Here’s where you can start…

  • Don’t rely on the microphone on your webcam. You have office noise you’re dealing with plus the reverb of the sound bouncing off the walls, which will only be heightened by the small microphone trying to pick up your voice. What you should do instead is invest in at least a basic shotgun microphone that can be directed on just your voice.
  • Designated part of your office as a bare-bones video studio. All it takes is some portable soft-box lighting to not have you appear with dark shadows over your eyes and face, which otherwise would have you looking like Joe does here – something out of a D-grade Halloween movie! You can even get a portable backdrop so whatever you’re wearing (along with your skin tones) has a nice contrast with your background.
  • Feature video clips of people other than just you! If you’re going to be claiming to speak for the “American People” in your speech, then you should at least encourage your own constituents to submit their own videos. It sounds a lot more convincing when you have actual examples of whom you’re representing.
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