December 26, 2006

The Wordy Tony Snow

1064

That’s the average number of additional words in the White House press briefings given by Press Secretary Tony Snow compared with his relatively laconic predecessor Scott McClellan. As a result, the typical briefing now lasts about 10 minutes, or 30% longer than under McClellan.

Among other differences, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow tends to talk a good deal longer than his terser predecessor, Scott McClellan — 1,064 words longer on average. To compute that number, the Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 10 of Snow’s recent press briefings — in late November and December — and compared them with 10 of McClellan’s briefings from the same period a year earlier. The results were eye-catching. The average Snow briefing (45 minutes) lasted slightly more than 10 minutes longer than the average McClellan briefing (35 minutes), an increase of 30%. And after calculating a word count for each briefing, the Project found that the typical Snow session contained about 1,064 more words than the average McClellan go-round—or roughly four extra double spaced pages, or about one and half opinion columns in the New York Times. For those extra 10 minutes in a Tony Snow briefing there were roughly 15 more questions—about a 20% increase over McClellan. Read More