Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Last word on the State of the Union: Salmon

Ecotrope | Jan. 27, 2011 2:02 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:41 p.m.

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From 4,000 people across the political spectrum – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike – the number one word they used to describe Obama's State of the Union speech on NPR's website was ... salmon!

From 4,000 people across the political spectrum – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike – the number one word they used to describe Obama's State of the Union speech on NPR's website was … salmon!

NPR asked all its followers to describe President Obama’s State of the Union speech in three words. Then, using Wordle, NPR built this word cloud of the most common responses. Surprise! Out of 4,000 responses from self-described Democrats, Republicans and Independents the word people used the most was not jobs, education, innovation or future. It was salmon!

That was not the case immediately after the speech either (I checked; the top word at first was “inspiring”). Is this a testament to the power of humor … the degree to which people want to see government reorganization … or the importance of salmon to the nation? Now I feel justified in clarifying the joke, which I concluded was only partially true. But I’ll put here so we can relive it one last time:

“We live and do business in the Information Age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white TV. There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater. I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

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