Have you ever really listened to Wolf Blitzer and how he speaks? To me, he sounds slightly frantic. Plus…it is oftentimes hard to follow his conversation and line of questioning.

WHY?  I contribute this to his breathing and pausing … in all the wrong places.

WHERE SHOULD YOU BREATHE AND PAUSE?   Where the punctuation lies within a sentence. Or, in the TV world…when setting up the meaningful information.

Because he is not breathing at the end of each phrase, he is forced to take a quick breath, mid-sentence, which makes him sound slightly frantic and out-of-control.

This also disrupts the logic or flow of the sentence, thus causing confusion with the audience, or having them work harder to follow the question.

Here is an example I took from a recent interview with Reince Priebus, the Chairperson of the Republican National Convention.

(When you don’t see the punctuation, that means his sentences were colliding; there was no pause to separate the content.)

“You’ve seen our new poll numbers Secretary Clinton (breath) saw this convention bounce uh after both conventions The CNN/RNC poll (breath) shows that the number of voters who believe Secretary Clinton’s (gulp) policies (breath) will move the country in the right direction That actually jumped from 43 percent before to 48 percent now The number of voters (breath) who said the same about Trump’s policies actually went down from 40 percent before the conventions to 38 percent now Did the Republican (breath) Convention achieve what was needed?”

Here are my suggestions on how to improve his pacing/phrasing.

“You’ve seen our new poll numbers. (PAUSE) Secretary Clinton saw this convention bounce after both conventions. (PAUSE) The CNN/RNC poll shows that (catch breath) the number of voters who believe Secretary Clinton’s policies (catch breath) will move the country in the right direction… (PAUSE) Those numbers actually jumped from 43 percent before (catch breath) to 48 percent now. (PAUSE) The number of voters (hesitate) who said the same about Trump’s policies, (catch breath) actually went down (catch breath) from 40 percent before the convention, (catch breath) to 38 percent now. (PAUSE) Did the Republican Convention achieve what was needed?

Here’s the link to the interview:



  1. I have noticed this as well. I was thinking that he had some kind of condition that was causing shortness of breath.

    1. Not only that, sometimes his weird phrasing is contagious. The interviewees start doing it too. Maybe out of sympathy.

    2. It’s all fine, but somehow he maintains his job with the leading news site. HOW ???

  2. I have noticed this as well, and it really detracts from the content. And I have noticed some other commentators picking up this bad habit too.

  3. As a broadcaster (retired), the Blitzer model drives me crazy. I was also an English major and took additional writing and journalism courses. To hear this man butcher the language, admittedly some of it is because he lives in America, is so unsettling. I wonder why he is kept on because when he speaks what he is saying can be so easily misunderstood. When the world lives in tenuous times, many people could jump to false conclusions based on a badly timed pause uttered by Mr. Blitzer. At his age he is too old to start over again but both he and his bosses should be very careful where this anchor takes a breathe. Follow the punctuation, please.

  4. Don’t over think it. He has respiratory problems. His cadence is typical of someone with obstructive lung disease. Was he a heavy smoker at some point? Of course, the fact that people talk about it actually increases his value to the brand.

  5. It’s been driving me crazy for a long time. I don’t remember him doing that when he was a much younger reporter.

  6. It drives me nuts as well period even comes to the point where he stops in the middle of persons name. I’m almost to the point where I can’t watch him anymore.
    I find myself listening to the way he said something rather than to actually what he’s saying. Needs to go a breathing coach.

  7. This has been driving me crazy for years. It’s perhaps the main reason why I despise the fact that he’s an anchor, though I finally hit the point when I thought I should search if he has any pulmonary disease. This is what brought me to this website. I figured I couldn’t be the only one.

  8. I too thought there was something wrong with his breathing or his lungs. Glad to know I’m not the only one. I wonder if CNN has tried to have him learn a better news delivery with proper phrasing based on punctuation. Currently, it’s very distracting to the viewer, and I find myself focusing on his delivery instead of what he’s saying.

    1. President Trump is also someone who’s speech patterns cause me unrest. Sometimes he almost gets more than four words out at a time. Many times when he gets a complete sentence verbalized he let’s his voice fall off to become unintelligible. Don’t get me started on his hand gestures! Making the OK sign when he’s just into a sentence, waving both hands back and forth while attempting to make a point. To me, these gestures are distracting and take away from the point he is trying to make. Stand still, Donald!

  9. I get crazy watching him. I start to focus on his breathing so much I don’t even hear what he is saying. I feel like he speaks until he runs out of breath and then breathes and continues. Just glad to know it isn’t me.

  10. I agree about his speech patterns, it’s hard to concentrate on what he is saying. I also cringe every time he says “uh”. I’ve counted 30 uhs in a less than 2 minute story. It’s not what I would expect of a so-called professional.

  11. Glad everyone else noticed Wolfe’s weird speech cadence and intonations. I actually googled it as I find it so darn distracting. It’s almost a speech impediment but appears intended. I get the feeling he’s distracted and trying to intonate but ends up sounding robotic, odd and utterly indigestible inflections that make a true listener crazy. Now Manu is doing it too. Geesh *smacks forehead

  12. I have been wondering for years what his problem is with stopping in the middle of a phrase, eg. in the middle (breathe) of a phrase. All of a sudden I thought of COPD, a disease usually caused from smoking or being around a heavy smoker in one’s youth. If that’s the case, he has my sympathy.

  13. Have you considered that this might be Wolf’s intentional delivery? When he pauses mid-sentence, his guest waits for him to finish his thought because it is an unnatural stopping point. When Wolf continues through sentences, it leaves the guest no room to interject. This allows Wolf to get through all his points and ask his question without allowing time for interruption. I can see this being very effective… especially when the guest is being asked difficult questions or they hold an opposing stance on an issue.

  14. The point of his breathing patterns is to make you feel frantic yourself–to keep you on the edge of your seat as if you’re receiving some intensely breaking news or instructions on how to diffuse a ticking time bomb. He could be telling you how to make breakfast and it would create the same uneasiness and anxious attentiveness. I do not think it is medical but rather intentional as a (very annoying) way to hook his audience. Just thinking about him speak makes my hands clam up.

  15. I cannot watch him. He makes me nuts. I picture cue cards with slashes to indicate where he should pause and all are in the wrong places. And he has no personality. How has he been able to hold his job for so long?

  16. I agree that Wolf Blitzer’s manner of speech is irritating. Unfortunately, he is on prime time t.v. when you want to see the news. So you’re stuck with listening to him breathe.

  17. OMG it’s so annoying, that when he is on I have to change the channel, I find myself taking breaths when I shouldn’t… as if I were going to hyperventilate. He really should go for training on making speaches, after all he’s making mega bucks on CNN, put some of it to good use… UGH……

  18. I’ve noticed this for years. Can only take him for a very short time where upon I am driven to MSNBC. He just understand punctuation. Very annoying.

  19. I am one Who also does not watch CNN news because of the Wolfe.
    How he can be CNN’s best choice….???….It is a mystery

    1. Drives me nuts! Ari Melber is so far superior to Wolfe. And don’t get me started on Fox ‘Entertainment’ news. Embarrassing. You’d think that CNN was the news of the day for Fox with as much as they criticize CNN. One last observation on a related note: Laura Ingraham? Insufferable!

    2. Drives me nuts! Ari Melber is so far superior to Wolfe. And don’t get me started on Fox ‘Entertainment’ news. Embarrassing. You’d think that CNN was the news of the day for Fox with as much as they criticize CNN. One last observation on a related note: Laura Ingraham? Insufferable!

  20. Yes it is extremely annoying and frustrating to listen to him. It seems like he only says about five words at a time no matter what he is talking about and the pauses really make it hard to follow what he’s talking about. It reminds me of “throw the cow over the fence… some hay.”

  21. I literally cannot watch when he comes on for this very reason. They lose my viewership when he comes on. I just can’t handle it.

  22. Omg the way Wolfe speaks irritates me so much that I googled what was wrong with him and that’s how I found this. Whenever he comes on, I instinctually change the channel. I have the same reaction to Brian Williams incidentally.

  23. Yes, uh, please, Wolf, uh Blitzer, just don’t say, uh, anything, rather than, uh, say “uh” , uh, constantly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s