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A sound bite is a short clip of speech or music extracted from a longer piece of audio, often used to promote or exemplify the full length piece. In the context of journalism, a sound bite is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that captures the essence of what the speaker was trying to say, and is used to summarize information and entice the reader or viewer. The term was coined by the U.S. media in the 1970s. Since then, politicians have increasingly employed sound bites to summarize their positions.

Due to its brevity, the sound bite often overshadows the broader context in which it was spoken, and can be misleading or inaccurate. The insertion of sound bites into news broadcasts or documentaries is open to manipulation, leading to conflict over journalistic ethics.

It can also be a short, catchy statement resembling those quoted or replayed by reporters.


Pre-Clinton and BlairEdit

In the 1960s and 1970s, pressure from advertisers on the American television industry to create entertaining news material made sound bites central to political coverage. Politicians began to use PR techniques to craft self-images and slogans that would resonate with the television-viewing audience and ensure their victory in campaigns. The term "sound bite" was coined in the late 1970s, several years before the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who was famous for short, memorable phrases like, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" in reference to the Berlin Wall.

During the 1988 United States presidential election, candidate Michael Dukakis highlighted the prominent role of sound bites and spin doctors in political campaigns by running a commercial that mocked contender George H.W. Bush's handlers' frustration over the gaffes of his vice presidential running-mate Dan Quayle.

The 1990's phenomenaEdit

Ronald Reagan and Michael Dukakis liked using them. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton used them all the time. Tony Blair was accused of being a Political parrot in late 2008. It was virtually extinct by the time of Brexit.

Post Clinton and BlairEdit

Several major Brexit campaigners for gon spin and mostly unashamedly lied in the 2010s.

First Known Use of sound-biteEdit

Adjective- 1986. Noun- 1972. Derisity term- 1997.

Also seeEdit

  1. Machine-driven politics
  2. Machine politics
  3. Mechanical answers
  4. Parrot answers
  5. Answers by rote
  6. Political dogma
  7. Manifesto
  8. Spin
  9. Buzwords
  10. Blairisum and Blairites
  11. False news sites
  12. EU
  13. USSR
  14. Spin doctor
  15. Manifesto
  16. Spin
  17. Negative campaigning
  18. Quote by rote


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