The shrinking political soundbite  JAN 03 2011

The political soundbite has gotten progressively shorter over the past few decades.

A professor at the University of California had just published research showing that the length of the average TV sound bite had dropped dramatically, from 43 seconds in the 1968 presidential election to a mere nine seconds in the 1988 election. And this drop had led to lots of hand-wringing -- from professors, from journalists, and from politicians themselves. "If you couldn't say it in less than 10 seconds," Michael Dukakis complained about the previous campaign, "it wasn't heard because it wasn't aired."

It's currently just under eight seconds...which, perhaps not coincidentally, is about how long it would take someone to speak a text or tweet.

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