Who were the two most powerful and effective orators of the decade?

My picks and Trump and Greta Thunberg, in that order, as explained in my latest Bloomberg column. Excerpt:

My choice for second place is Greta Thunberg. In little more than a year, Thunberg has moved from being an unheard-of 16-year-old Swedish girl to Time’s Person of the Year. While she is now a social media phenomenon, her initial ascent was driven by her public speaking. Communication is quite simply what she does.

As a public speaker, Thunberg is memorable. The unusual prosody of autistic voices is sometimes considered a disadvantage, but she has turned her voice and her extreme directness into an unforgettably bracing style. She communicates urgency and moral seriousness on climate change at a time when the world is not taking decisive action. She mixes anger and condemnation with the look of a quite innocent young girl. Her Swedish version of a British accent is immediately recognizable. There is usually no one else in the room who looks or acts like her.

Her core speech she can give in about five minutes, perfect for an age of limited attention spans. She speaks in short, clipped phrases, each one perfect word-for-word. It is easy to excerpt discrete sentences on social media or on television.

As for memorable phrases, how about these: “I don’t want your hope.” “Did you hear what I just said?” “I want you to panic.” And of course: “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

These days, you can simply say the name “Greta” in many parts of the world, and people will know who you are referring to.

You will note that under the formal DSM definition of autism, deficits in communication are a fundamental feature of the condition — perhaps that should be changed?  Greta uses the term “selective mutism” in describing herself, but clearly the actual reality is more than just a simple deficit, rather an uneven pattern with very high peaks.  As I wrote in the column, communicating is what she does.

One other point — I frequently hear or read people charge that Greta is being manipulated by her parents.  I have no real knowledge of the Thunberg family, but in the research literature on prodigies it is clear that virtually all of those who have achieved something early had quite extreme self-motivation, a common feature of autism I might add.


She offers no solutions, only hysteria and mass panic. She will end up being a footnote while others come up with the technologies to decarbonise the power grid.

Her efforts help to sustain the drive to decarbonise. She's not a scientist. Kennedy didn't have anything to do with engineering the moon landing either.

I will lay down this prediction right here- a decade from now, the world will be burning more carbon, not less- regardless of how much oratory Miss Thunberg does between now and then.

Not great for us, at least she's trying.

Try not! Do or do not! There is no try!

[And do something actually useful.]

Realistically it should not be Greta the puppet but her puppeteer who get's the prize for buffoonery.

Nailed it.

Additionally, poor, little Greta (They Stole Her Childhood: she saw a climate Armageddon TV lie-fest and was struck mute for a year) is the tragic face of a hundred million children are being abused and terrified with the left's apocalyptic hoaxes and lies.

ODS, BDS, TDS, CDS, AOCDS, GDS....it's exhausting

China currently has more coal plants under construction or in design than the entire capacity of the EU.Q

every acronym ends in an S...it's a symptom alright...of disturbed minds perfect bookend for disturbed times

In order to do anything, you have to try to do it.

Had the commenter used the user name Yoda, would that have helped you at all?

Number Three powerful and effective orator prize would go to Professor Christine Blasey Fraud.

My favorite was St. Greta's eliminationist rhetoric about standing world leaders "up against the wall, motherfucker!." I know! It's a Swede "idiom' and it's powerful and effective.

Ms. Thunberg is especially useful for scoring a perfect 10 on The Hiding Behind Intellectually-Challenged Children Index.

Green Bullshit Is The Life Blood Of Your Remote, Intransigent and Useless Political Elites.

Not that anyone needed this post to know DtB has it.

Good One!

This will be the case. China has 121 GW of coal plants under construction right now. I presume they intend to run them for 30ish years to recover their investment.

There is a very good possibility that the various initiatives people are trying will turn people against the whole project. There seems to be two alternatives; one is to make people poorer and unable to consume, the other is to find some alternative through technology to replace what has been the driver of prosperity. The first will fail. Trying isn't going to get us to the second one.

Because the poor and the lower middle class are often caught between the hammer and the anvil, I predict that the next attack will be directed towards small 2-4 stroke engines: chainsaws, leaf blowers, motorcycles and the like.

As impossible as it seems now, I actually think the solutions will come, probably almost too late, and will not be China switching to renewable sources. Rather, they'll be carbon recovery and/or some other intentional geo-engineering approaches we haven't conceived of yet.

Or: the Climageddon will continue to recede into the future until people realize it will never happen and stop listening to nutcrackers like Thunberg and McKibben and Hansen

Hey Ali, look for the definition of orator in the dictionary. It's not related at all with "offering solutions".

Kabuki theater and propaganda all the way down. Although if a scolding teenager is the best spokesperson that Global Warming Inc could come up with then we may have reached peak-AGW-hysteria.

Scott Alexander had a line in an essay a while back that went something like this: "Dissenters were not exactly treated kindly in the Soviet Union during the 1930's and '40's, but there was one sure way to be a dissenter and thrive, and that was to go around saying stuff like 'ya know, the problems we're having right now are all because not enough people respect what Comrade Stalin is trying to do here.' IE, it was to be the kind of dissenter whose rhetoric pushed the state in the direction it was already trying to go." That's Greta Thunberg, in a nutshell. She harangues friendly audiences of elected officials and policy jobbers to do more of what they already want to do. In that sense, she's kind of a volunteer apparatchik in a weird sort of stage-managed fake struggle session put on for public consumption. Harmless and silly, for the most part. I guess she deserves some points for spontaneously crafting such a role, but I don't think this qualifies her as any sort of orator. The Periclean tradition this is not.

Could you link the essay?

The solutions required now are political, which in democracies must be done through oration and rallying the masses.

Thunberg is one of those picks that makes no sense to me other than that she has garnered fame for nothing at all (is that a valid standard for this topic?). One might as well have chosen Kim Kardashian.

Come on, really? You can signal to your tribe your Greta-hate without being dumb about it.

What has Thunberg accomplished other than the fame? Cowen basically concedes my point by listing the Time award.

Cowen wasn't talking about accomplishment. He was rating oratory effectiveness.

Effectiveness towards what end?

I realize I am wasting my time even responding to you, but to make the point clear- at least Trump accomplished a real end with his oratory (which I don't find all that stirring personally). What has Thunberg accomplished with hers? Nothing that I can see, but please enlighten me if you are able.

Nothing positive can be said about Greta that you'd agree with. But she's accomplished a great deal of personalizing and humanizing a movement. You don't agree with her but she is now a world-renowned symbol and is inspiring your enemies.

Again, all Cowen said was Trump and Thunberg are both very effective speakers. Did you even read the article? He does a good job of explaining why that is.

Talk about mood affiliation, why don't you!

Surrender accepted.

She didn't persuade anyone who was not already persuaded, she didn't succeed in ratifying a new thing that wouldn't otherwise have been ratified, and she didn't reach a tangible career milestone. Even if you love Greta, you have to admit that fame itself is her only claim to fame. You are basically conceding Yancey's point.

How do you know she hasn't persuaded 'anyone'? How can you measure the power of symbolism? You're just predictably mood affiliating, just like J. (from the other side).

Did you even read the article? He's not endorsing Trump or Greta's messages. But why is Greta world famous and every other green teen in the world anonymous? It has a lot to do with her oratorical style. Same for Trump, who is obviously a master of a certain kind of oratory.

Okay, well, I'll tell you how I, personally, assess whether she's persuaded anyone: I have a large number of friends across the political spectrum, and none of them changed their viewpoints before or after the Greta Affair.

"But wait," you'll say, "how do you know she didn't persuade some other bunch of people, somewhere?" I don't, and I don't need to. My circle is large enough that if even just one person I know changed their mind, I'd have chosen a different word than "anyone."

Second question: How do I measure the power of symbolism? Answer: I don't. It's not necessary for the present discussion vis-a-vis my own contribution to it.

Third question: Am I mood affiliating? Er... maybe? I'm biased against anyone who uses their platform on the world stage to harangue people with indignant diatribes, regardless of the content of those diatribes. That covers Trump, Greta, and most commentators on this forum. Is that mood affiliation? You tell me.

Third question: Did I even read the article? No. TC's Bloomberg articles are a near complete waste of my time. TC's perspectives on culture are as abysmal as his taste in music. He's a good economist, though, which is why I keep coming back to Marginal Revolution. That, and Alex.

Fourth question: Why is Greta world famous and every other green teen in the world anonymous? I don't know, but one thing I know for certain is that neither fame nor politics is a meritocracy. Somebody made the decision to push Greta, and I have no ex ante reason to believe that that decision was based on her oratory skills.

But since you didn't even read the article we are talking about, I don't see what the point of discussing it with you is. Cowen made a claim about Trump and Thunberg, which I found pretty persuasive. You don't even know what he said.

Of course I know what he said. He said, "Who were the two most powerful and effective orators of the decade? My picks are Trump and Greta Thunberg."

He then quotes a few excerpts of his article, the gist of which is that Greta -- and thus presumably also Trump -- is good at short, memorable sound bites. If that's what makes an effective orator, though, I've got two words for Tyler: "You're fired!" By this measure, Siri has them both beat.

One person who is at least a quarter of a notch above Cowen's "picks" (ugh, god, is it so hard to type out the word choices?) is Justin Hawkins, who recently made a point about the detestableness of generating attention for a consumer base starved of attention span:

“It's mystique chiseling, music used to be an aspirational vocation. You want to be the rock star, you want to drive the big car, live in the big house and the big high fence that nobody can see over. You don't see the real legends farting in the bathtub or posting selfies, you don't get to watch them prepare for their show in their civilian clothes. I've never wanted access to the artists I've admired. I don't want to see Abba having a bickering match or see Steven Tyler choosing his Hawaiian shirt. I don't want to meet them. I want to appreciate the art. I really think it devalues what we're doing, from art to either a service, or even worse, content.” This last word drips with disgust before he continues. “That’s why being a rock star is just something that people don't aspire to anymore. There's no money in it. Unless you're in Coldplay. And if you're in Coldplay, that's not living You don't even want to go on the road in case you knock over a tree or crash into squirrels.”

If Trump is such a great speaker, why does he speak at 4th grade level?

Same reason that Greta speaks as if she were the victim of a hideous crime during a sentencing hearing. It's what their respective audiences want to hear.

You got it. It's not the reading level we want, it's the reading level we deserve. I suspect that's TC's "Straussian" point here.

So that is what we have become!!

"So that is what we have become!!"

Dude, your surprised? Have you never read a newspaper or watched TV news?

Do you remember anything Obama said? He had the knack of making his listeners feel intelligent, but didn't say much except moderate left platitudes.

I thought he was a hard left socialist!

In the minds of alarmist types who bought all those guns and ammo, expecting the day of seizure that never came.

It’s going to be an interesting year in Virginia.

Just ask Dick about it - he is raring to go, guns blazing to keep the VA NG from trampling on women and children.

Because nothing says 2nd Amendment like LARPing in a fantasy world.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor

The point is, he was an adult. We used to have president adults, whether we agreed with the them or not, whether we had voted for them or not. I am not saying every president should write a Gettysburg Address, but should a person with a toddler's mind be president? It is hard to believe that Republicans could not choose an adult to stand for whatever it is Trump is supposed to be standing for.

You're referring to Obama as an adult? Intriguing.

Get out of the DNC bubble for a bit.

Well, he certainly spole as adults do. We, Americans, used to vote for adults. Now, we have a president who talks how a toddler.

Obama was only as good as his TelePrompTer.

Actually, the scients analyzed non-scripted utterances. According to them, Trump speaks in a toddlerish way.

"Now, we have a president who talks how a toddler."

Who cares how he talks. He's dismantling the EPA; holding the line against climate change quackery; reducing regulations; lowering taxes; sparking the economy; deporting illegal immigrants; driving harder trade deals; trying to get us out of stupid military engagements etc.

If he keeps doing that he can tweet pictures of himself naked for all I care.

I'm a Republican, but I agree that Obama was and is an adult, despite my disagreeing with 80% of his policies. The current occupant of the White House is a sixth grade (I am being generous) bully.

We have had many presidents I disagreed with, from FDR to Clinton, but I have never felt embarrassed to be an American because my fellow voters chose them. Reasonable people differ on what is best for the country. Trump is not a reasonable person and his voters, despite their understandable frustration, have to be held accountable for choosing him in particular rather than some adult conservative.

Yes, Larry, hold those Trump supporters accountable for... Trump’s bullying?

Obama and his supporters were crystal clear on changing the fabric of US society.

After eight years of cultural war being waged, these people in 2016 were able to choose between Trump or Hillary...

But sure, you go ahead and hold them accountable for their support of Trump. The bully.

I remember him telling Romney that the 1980s called and wanted their foreign policy back.

Who knew he was just another Putin puppet?

A minor note, but Romney wanted a bigger conventional Navy. Do we really think in retrospect that was our security vulnerability?

Romney Claim of Smallest Navy Misses Technology’s Edge

I don't know why I'm trying to inject historic accuracy into this of all pages, but there it is.

Talk about missing the point! I'll spell it out for you. Obama was right, Romney was wrong, and the 'Putin puppet' argument is a sign of mental derangement.

You are saying Mueller, and the official conclusions of the counter-intelligence divisions, are deranged?

Odd, especially given that Obama who "was right" accepted their conclusions.

We did not meet Russia in an epic sea battle as Romney feared, we met them in a "non ballistic" information age engagement.

There are two ways to view the outcome. Either they won. Or we are idiots and did it to ourselves.

Nothing in the Mueller report suggests ‘Putin puppet’.

Seek professional help.

Of course it doesn't, which leads to the question, why did you set that bizarre goalpost?

Why wasn't this your rational focus:

"I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments—that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election.

That allegation deserves the attention of every American."

Yes. Great Britain and Israel, to name just two prominent examples, have long histories of meddling in US politics. Why wouldn’t they, or any country that could, given US 800 lb gorilla status?

Time magazine positively crowed about the CIA getting Yeltsin elected in the 1990s.

This is what countries do.

Brian, I think standing for law and order through any administration, Republican or Democrat, is the only firm foundation.

Because when you start granting exceptions to friends, your party, where do you stop?

We have a president who thinks it's fine to shoot girls to in flowered hijabs. He has overturned military law to support it.

Are you on board?

The thing to really ask yourself, is whether Trump has brought you along, step by step, until you accept crimes, and evils, you never would have imagined 10 years ago.

I'm not the only one who sees it this way, a GOP/Weld strategist:

“A party without a governing theory, higher purpose or moral direction is nothing more than a syndicate that exists only to advance itself. no coherent purpose other than acquisition/maintenance of power”


Quite an effective thread derailment there! Nobody said Obama was a great orator. He is a likeable person with a dominant personality. He tends to charm his audience more than anything.

As for Trump, he is less of a Cicero and more of a tent revival preacher. He rambles but knows how to be entertaining and funny, at least in ways that appeal to his core audience.

The answers are all there.

At 2:39PM above

There ought to be a comment moratorium of 10 - 20 minute duration randomly chosen for each posting, to prevent the inrush of early and ignorant comments that set the tone for the rest of the conversation.

You could say it about any politician/activist from Luther to Robert Ingersoll to Susan B. Anthony to Martin Luther King to Jerry Falwell. It is what activists do.

I don't know how anyone can argue against these two being amazingly effective orators. They've both managed to convince people who should know better to defer judgment to someone who is woefully unqualified.

But it's still early. Gonna have at least 100+ comments here.

The fix could be in if anyone is betting, however.

For some reason, I think it likely that 100 years from now neither one will be remembered for oratory, and Miss Thunberg is all but certain to not be remembered at all.

Who did they convince of what? The people on their side were already on those sides before either of them started making speeches.

Reading comprehension. You're not good at it.

Ms Thunberg is famous for being famous.


My god, she's 16 already!

Why hasn't she started at least 16 corporations by now and double what Elon Musk has done to deal with the threat of climate change?

That Elon Musk has had three times the time is no excuse!

That's not the problem with GT. The problem is that she doesn't know what she is talking about. She is using her oratorical skills in the service of a bad cause - the "poverty strategy" for improving environmental conditions. It will only make things worse.

She's famous for riling up the other side. I guess we now have a new Derangement Syndrome, GDS.

Some of us have been around long enough to remember the last time children were used. All they needed to know was whether someone wore glasses or not.

I'm disgusted at people who use children as political props. I don't what they have to say. I despise those who think that a children's crusade is a good idea.

Yes. She reminds me of the late night charity commercials with kids looking sad and thing and covered in flies. Her version is just Swedish and autistic, with no Sarah McLachlan soundtrack necessary.

Another way of saying that someone is a great orator is that they engender a stronger following than the substance of their ideas would otherwise merit. From that perspective, Tyler may be on to something.

What an age we live in - sound bites are now the measure of oratory.

Lend me your ears countrymen, I have come to praise oratory, not bury it.

Touche Tyler. Having Greta run interference for your deplorable take on Trump. Well played.

Cowen's no dummy. If he doesn't include one from each side then he's just another partisan.

But he's not, he's way smarter than dumb-ass partisans. Now we see the derangement on both sides (J. for the libs, the usual suspects for the cons).

Oh Tyler you are SOOOOO edgy!

Trump is a fine performance artist, but not an orator. He beautifully works a meeting, a lively crowd of supporters or even better a hostile mob of reporters. But it's not self-powered, he needs that foil.

Greta T is a poster child, not an orator. She'll carry the banner but won't persuade anyone. If they want to remake that Twilight Zone where little Billy Mumy does horrible things to people just with his mind, they should give her agent a call.

So we are still looking for the orator of the decade, if one exists

....I guess the ribbon goes to third place, Obama.

That's how Cal Naughton Jr. finally won a race.

One mark of an effective orator is the ability to persuade an audience. Interesting that you have selected first world political speakers - neither of which can be said to have shifted public opinion much one way or the other (maybe Trump has made republicans a bit less interventionists?). I'm surprised you jumped right to the popular headline grabbers and didn't look a little deeper at global movements less noticed by the mainstream press - particularly given your insistence of the importance of religion.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable global movements is the spread of pentecostal religion. South America is on track to become majority protestant in the next decade largely because of the "communication skills" of their evangelists. Luis Palau has had an enormous impact on the rise of evangelicalism across South America (and thus the political currents in Brazil). Ethiopian protestant churches are sending missionaries to muslim majority countries - how long until northern Sudan and Somalia have a significant population that adheres to the prosperity gospel? They have made huge in roads in China, Korea (e.g., Yonggi Cho), the Philippines (Corona?) and across Africa (e.g., Oyakhilome and Adeboye) as well. Folks like Brian Houston, Paula White, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and Creflo Dollar impact far more people internationally than Greta or Donald through their influence of the pentecostal preachers. This represents orators who have been effective at persuading their audience to change their beliefs. What is a better measure of an effective orator than that?

Whose the best orator of the bunch over the past decade? I'm not so sure. My gut says Joel Osteen, but then I haven't listened to a lot of these folks. Hillsong's pastor, Brian Houston, only has a church of about 100,000 people, but their music, preaching style, and printed materials are replicated in countless evangelical churches (even those who eschew the prosperity elements in their content - suggesting that his oratory skills are remarkably effective).

Brazil, sure. Fundamentalist Islamic countries and China? Put the Kool-Aid down and step away from the keyboard.

The Pew numbers I've seen show that growth of Pentecostals is faster than the population growth. The fraction of Chinese Pentecostals is admitted small (~2%?), Given the headwinds in China I count that as significant growth and an indication of the effectiveness of the communicators. I don't know if the trend of sending missionaries will succeed, but I wouldn't bet against them. At any rate, I stand by my main point that the best measure of an effective communicator is the ability to persuade. For better or worse, the Pentecostals have been far more effective at changing minds than Trump or Thunberg.

Powerful and effective? Definitely Trump, but Greta Thunberg? She's also emotionally disturbed and physically stunted which doesn't help her oratory. What about Matteo Salvini or Boris Johnson?

Here's a great bit of speechifying from Geoffrey Cox.


...that you so predictably fall into Cowen's partisan-baiting trap? It should.

By the conventions of contemporary modernity, the year 2000 was the first year of this century, just as by Tyler's conventional usage, 2010 was the first year of the decade that ends today.

By older conventions, of course, this century did not start until 1 January 2001, and "the second decade" of this century will not end for another 365 days (plus 1).

Is Tyler channeling or aspiring to an autism-spectrum preference for numeration?

The older conventions were stupid. We refer to decades as 'the 80s' or 'the 50s'. 1980 was the first year of the 80s, obviously, not the last year of the 70s.

Year 0 is meaningless anyway, no one knows exactly when Jesus was born.

No, the older conventions were not "stupid"--people simply knew how to count up to one hundred or to one thousand.

If 2000 really WERE the first year of this century, why then don't we concede that we live in the 20th century (AD or CE)? After all, by that reckoning "1900" NAMED the preceding century "the 19th century".

The 'first century' would be the 100 years from year 0 to the end of year 99 (that's 100 years, 1-99 plus year 0). The 2nd century was 100-199. The 20th was 1900-1999. A hundred years in every one.

Decades have 10 years. The 1980s started on Jan. 1, 1980 and ended exactly 10 years later on Dec. 31, 1989.

Nyet nyet nyet nyet nyet: on no calendar of the Christian/Common Era (AD/CE) has a "Year Zero" been designated, to my limited understanding.

The "first century" of the Christian Era (with our calendrical reckoning) began on 1 January 1 in order to end on 31 December 100--the elapse of one century. (Notice that "100" denotes that one century elapsed.)

You win some pedant points, and the rest of the world can keep doing it properly.

The days of mathematics are numbered, in any case.

"The days of mathematics are numbered"

Well played.

I once read a nice novel in which a precocious child character insisted on telling people, "I'm in my tenth year" rather than "I'm nine years old."

Here's the punchline: That novel was a children's book. If kids can get their heads around this, I have hope for adults, too; even MR commentators.

What both Trump and Greta have in common is that they seem to believe what they say. Besides that they don't have much in common.

I don't believe the success of Trump is much predicated on his "oratory skill". It seems to be much more of a matter of timing and being able to actually say (with honesty) what repulican voters have been led to over several decades (racism). As a German I can tell you that the term "fake news" isn't new... search for lying press/Lügenpresse (I guess it needed to be updated for digital news?) and blaming some subset of the population or foreigners instead of tackling real problems is a well known and proven political strategy as well. Since the audience seems to miss the pattern, perhaps because of lack of education, using the vocabulary and rhetorical style of a five year old is probably approriate for the audience.

Greta Thunberg's directness may be an advantage currently, but there are already cirtical moments. For example when she says she doesn't care that her mother had to sacrifice her career because she doesn't fly anymore. I admire it, but I have also seen it backfire. A recent example was Richard Stallman. He's the autitic founder of the free software movement.

There was a time when fake news had a literal meaning. It was news that was not factually correct. Trump's genius and audacity was to flip the script, and make it anything he didn't like.

I agree with Tyler's implied indictment. If we were better, that would not have been so .. catchy.

(Though I hold off on "both sides" until Greta has the ability to call air strikes. Or tariffs on France(?!), even.)

Trump didn't 'flip the script', he literally called out fake news. CNN and the likes were running stories that they, and most others, knew were false. Trump beat them up for it in a way Republicans haven't in a long time.

....he called 10 other obviously true things 'fake'. But you know that.

That darn Wikipedia

"The term "lying press" is at times used to cast doubt upon legitimate news from an opposing political standpoint. During and after his presidential campaign and election, Donald Trump popularized the term "fake news" in this sense, regardless of the truthfulness of the news, when he used it to describe the negative press coverage of himself."

Gimme a second, I'll have wikipedia saying Trump was always right and virtuous. I'm sure you'll give it as much credence as do I wikipedia on Trump.

lol, right on queue https://babylonbee.com/news/culture-truth-relative-suddenly-concerned-fake-news

No, it’s so much more stupid than this. This is a test that pretty much no one on Team Trump or Team Get-Trump passed at all. You’re not nearly cynical enough and remember you failed this test for 2 years straight.

A President who happens to be a compulsive liar and bs artist baits the entire media apparatus into losing their collective minds. Yes he’s a liar. But Jesus did the media take the bait easily.

And now the mask is off, and the establishment media sold their reputations for a nonexistent pee tape.

Don’t forget, Chait wrote a 2,000 word insanity conspiracy theory piece on why the sitting POTUS was a Russian asset developed in the 80s.

Vox regularly wrote pieces, including by Yglesias and Klein outlining why the most likely explanation was that Trump was involved in a conspiracy to throw an election.

Nytimes ran front page articles for 2 years, connecting dots that didn’t exist with a cast of characters more similar to a Cohen brothers farce than a KGB plot. NPR did the same, as did the WaPo.

Only one who kept his sanity was Matt Taibbi. No, the news isn’t fake. And Trump lies and misinforms to keep his base in line.

But separating fact from nonsense is almost impossible now since the media jumped the shark.

If Tyler thought he was pulling off such a test, that's pretty sad.

To need to balance the books between a President of the United States, with genuine responsibilities, and a teen, who says stuff.


Is that why mentions of war crimes are carefully pruned from these pages?

To shape the narrative that this President is no more important, or critical to our safety or our national virtue, than a random 16 year old media darling?


My vote goes to Yale Shrieking Girl

Men with no public following for their ideas think they are smarter than Greta. If, only if, someone would pay them attention... Try another comment.

Not to mention, the shrill, irrational hatred of men of the "gammon" variety is undoubtedly a big part of Greta's appeal.

A big part of politics today is liking how much someone deranges the other side. Which is sad. I hope someday the 'sides' don't matter as much.

"Men with no public following" Wow, you must think Paris Hilton was a genius.

Why not Joe Rogan? He revolutionized a whole new medium.

Interesting thought. He also did a lot as an announcer/commentator/enthusiast to help bring MMA into the mainstream.

I don't have a TV. The audio on my computer is broken.

Greta is most likely the final sign that thought that global warming is going to be catastrophic has jumped the shark. The silliness of this autistic girl scolding whomever will listen strikes me as the last screams of the movement. Good riddance.

Plenty more screams to come, kiddo.

You yanks need to understand english.

These two could well be two of the worst orators of all time.

For one thing they do not change in delivery. go to some great orators, Martin Luther King for example his delivery goes up and down depending on what he was emphasising.

MLK was a good orator, but he was no Thunberg or Trump.

Barack Obama moved me enough to almost vote for him. In the end, I did what I always do, wrote myself in.

I’d rather watch him read from a teleprompter than either of the two mentioned by Tyler. The only effectiveness of Mr Trump’s and Miss Thornburg’s oratory skills have on me is to question the intelligence of my peer group.

So you prefer prepared bullshit to off the cuff bullshit.

I prefer my BS delivered well. Obama’s reading aloud was pleasant.

That was Obama's skill, reading from a teleprompter. His true role in life should have been as a local news reader on a mid-market television affiliate. Some place like Memphis or Toledo. Maybe Albuquerque.

Obama is very good at being interviewed and has obvious charm. I saw one of his interviews with Bill O'Reilly - Bill thought he was going to "own" Obama but Obama leaned back, treated it like a friendly tennis match and swatted away the hostile questioning effortlessly. Obama didn't hide from the media or from contentious interviewers and his extensive record of interviews shows how silly the teleprompter meme is.

Correct, +5 internet points

Obama was pretty good off the cuff. I particularly enjoyed that one time when he met with the Republicans and explained to them how they sucked, and all they could do was sit there with their jaws hanging open.

It's sad but it ain't even close. Orator of the decade is Jennifer Granholm. If she wasn't a Canadian she would have been the first female US president.

By these metrics, short, memorable, and instantly viral, I don't see why the "don't taze me bro!" guy isn't among the greatest orators of the century thus far. What Greta isn't (and I would think would be the primary determinant of quality oration) is *persuasive*. No one who doesn't already agree with her position is swayed by her, so what's the point of her even bothering to open her mouth?

to reiterate,Neither trump nor Thunberg has any intonation which is essential for a great orator.

On am aside Thunberg is an acknowledged aspergers.

I am at a loss why so few point to the attributes Trump has of Aspergers

I wonder if the next edition of the DSM will destine a syndrome wherein “a person, typically 25 years or over, expresses uncontrollable and spontaneous rage upon hearing the name Greta, or seeing an image of the 16 year old person thereof.”

Oh please.... 😂. Tyler is just trolling for clicks and views. He says Trump and riles up the left. Then he throws in Greta and pisses off those on the right side of the aisle. Nicely played Tyler...

Placing this young lady at the same level as orators of the decade like Luther King or Churchill in the past is absurd. That relevant people like Tyler Cowen fall into this trap shows how effective propaganda can be.
The worst of Greta's message is not its finality, in the end, less contamination would be good for the world and the environment, but what she shares is not based on science but on a political agenda. All emotions (like the boat trip) not realities. But this is what the public and the media wants: emotions. Now the climate religion has their prophets (Al Gore), the truth is revealed to children (Greta) and anyone who challenges the status quo is condemned to public mockery or, if a scientist, his/her fundings are frozen. Nothing that Rome didn't already put into practice 2000 years ago...

Bernie Sanders has more traditional oratory skill than Donald Trump. Where Trump rambles, deploys insults, and does impersonations, Sanders is disciplined and has a finely honed message. He has fully embraced the role of grumpy grandpa and manages to be entertaining even to people who don't agree with him.

What does it say about the world that Tyler's picks for the two most effective orators are both demonstrably suffering from mental illness, although only one has been officially diagnosed?

Who has Thornberg won over who didn't agree with her initially?

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