“I Have a Scream”

With the ever-increasing political hubbub filling our ears, news feeds, and TV networks, I wanted to share a podcast from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog in the days leading up to the influx of primaries. I’ve been a fan of FiveThirtyEight for several years, and find it to be one of the few trustworthy, sensible sites during the insanity that is Election Season.

Why the Dean Scream Sounded so Different on TV is an excellent, informative, 30-minute podcast about the infamous shriek from the former Vermont governor. Can you hear it reverberating in your ears when you see this gif?

What makes this podcast great is that, as with many things FiveThirtyEight does, it provides a more objective point of view than other news outlets. For example, many of us remember Dean’s voice being significantly louder than the cheering crowd, which gave the impression of a kooky, unstable candidate.

Through an interview with an audio engineer and Dean’s former campaign members, the podcast uncovers that most people in attendance that night did not recall the yelp as it played out on the airwaves and small screens. So, what did it really sound like?

We hear audio clips from participants in the crowd that night—where the Dean Scream is inaudible—and of course, the well-known, noisy shriek. Impressively, the audio engineer mixed the two to give a “more realistic audio representation” of what was really heard that night. What did it “actually” sound like? You’ll have to listen to find out. (This segment starts around the 13:20 mark in the episode.)

In addition to this great “audio documentary,” there is a 10-minute video that accompanies it. Great work, FiveThirtyEight.

h/t to WNYC’s James Ramsay, who curates the great weekly “Hodgepod” newsletter every Friday. I hope to one day create newsletters as wonderful as his.

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