I have only recently begun watching more mainstream coverage of important political events, and have watched only the last three State of the Union addresses. From the name I expected a summary rundown of specific figures, statistics, accomplishments, and failures, much like a monthly technical meeting. However, in each case the vast majority of the time has been spent recognizing individuals and then focusing on emotional statements without quantification, and without presenting context or statistical trends. In short, it seemed much more like a campaign speech than anything informative.
As I've only been watching these for a very short time I'm curious about whether they contained more useful information and context in the past and what the original intent of the address was. Were they always as rhetorically driven as they are now, or were they originally an opportunity to convey data to the populace?