House Speaker Paul Ryan wants you to know that he gave a rousing speech at the Republican National Convention – but not necessarily that his speech was given at the same convention that nominated Donald Trump.
Ryan’s campaign Twitter account released a video Monday of some snippets from his speech at Republicans’ convention in July in Cleveland. Eagle-eyed observers quickly noticed that not a single Donald Trump sign is to be found, even in the wide shots.
Whether purposefully or not, the speech is edited so that if you were dropped from another planet and asked to watch this video – or maybe if you watched this far removed from this presidential campaign, say, in 2020 – you’d have no idea at what event Ryan was even speaking at. And you’d most certainly have no reason to believe it was at the convention that nominated the least-liked major party nominee in decades.
It’s possible this is all a coincidence. Ryan’s speech was a little more than 12 minutes, and this video is a few seconds over one minute. It’s possible, in other words, that when Team Ryan edited together the different portions of the speech, the footage they used happened to have no Trump signs.
But we’d be remiss if we also didn’t mention a common video-producing trick: Sometimes, the audio you’re hearing and the images you’re seeing didn’t happen at the same time. It’s pretty common for video producers in the marketing and campaign world to layer audio over a specific piece of visual footage, called B-roll, to get the exact feel they want. (That’s a no-no in the journalism world.)
In this case – for whatever reason – the feel Team Ryan wanted was that of a large, patriotic audience at a non-specific location for a non-specific reason listening intensely to Ryan. You could be forgiven for feeling like the audience was there specifically for Ryan.
If we zoom out to put this video in context, it becomes clearer that Ryan increasingly wants nothing to do with Trump.
During the entire 12-minute speech, Ryan hardly mentioned Trump. He said Trump’s name twice and Hillary Clinton’s three times.
In fact, some of the only times this summer we’ve heard Ryan mention Trump is to distance himself from something the nominee said. I did some calculations; Ryan has denounced Trump roughly once a week since he reluctantly endorsed Trump in June.
And then there’s the small detail that Ryan and Trump still have not appeared together in public since Ryan endorsed Trump – at least, we couldn’t find any photo or video of them together in the months since. In a world where image is everything, the fact that Ryan hasn’t been within camera lens range of Trump is no coincidence.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Amber Phillips