Yeah, yeah, I know. For someone who thinks the SOTU ain't all that interesting, I sure have written a lot about it, but I do think the coverage is revealing. A reader--Orest from Pennsylvania-- sent this example to me, from his local paper:
After most of the commitments he made in last year's address, particularly for energy independence, tax cuts and immigration reform, went largely unfulfilled, area political experts said they're not expecting much from Bush tonight.
“He's captured Saddam and he's hanged him, so now what?” asked James Hilty, an American presidency scholar and dean of the Temple University Ambler campus. “We're all waiting, but no one expects too much. I recognize a failing presidency when I see one.”
Play it a little closer to the vest, Brian Scheid. Put that quote down a little farther after a negative but reasonable one such as the one you used next:
“All in all, I don't think the American people are going to be much engaged in this speech at all,” Madonna said.
As a bonus, my reader e-mailed Scheid about the tilted nature of his copy and got back, "Don't waste my time." Ahh, customer service in the field of journalism.