Queen's University

Should Barack Obama cry in public?: Queen's University expert

2012-11-12

Queen’s University marketing professor Ken Wong is available to talk about the public reaction to Barack Obama tearing up while giving a speech to thank his campaign volunteers. The video was released by Obama campaign officials.

While some people will see this as bad statesmanship – real leaders shouldn’t cry in public – others will feel the president is a compassionate and caring person – desirable qualities for a statesman dedicated to global harmony. But the issue is much more complex than that according to Professor Wong, an expert on public image.

“Politicians today face a world filled with skeptics and there are many who will claim that the tears, and the release of the video by Obama staffers, was a well-staged marketing move. This raises many more issues that centre on Obama’s challenges as president. Have politicians lost so much credibility that the public cannot believe any act is genuine in its origins?” Professor Wong asks. “Regardless of whether it was staged or genuine, how politically astute was it to release the video – Did they have a choice in this world of social media? For whom was the ‘message’ intended given that it was delivered post-election? What specifically did he want to convey?”

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi (office: 613.533.6000 ext. 77513, michael.onesi@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (office: 613-533-2877, Anne.Craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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