Big Bird, The News Cycle And The DebateOctober 4, 2012 - Author: newscoma - Comments are closed
Well, the one thing that happened last night was the debate sparked a conversation that infuriated some folks, delighted others, put Big Bird at risk which will continue to be a national conversation and didn’t change much for decided voters.
Now, my fellow progressives, I know you aren’t going to like what I have to say but this is the year of the independent voters. They exist. Not everyone sits on a computer or in front of Fox/MSNBC/CNN religiously every day. So for a moments, let’s think about this is why debates happen. And we are looking at an evolution of news distribution.
Pres. Barack Obama didn’t bring his A-game, there isn’t any doubt on that one but there is also something to be said for his restraint. Those independent voters who are undecided wouldn’t have gone for our president becoming the Tasmanian Devil. I feel bad for the factcheckers this morning because there was a lot to look at. Wonky policy isn’t sexy unless Bill Clinton is talking about math. It’s a reality, folks want red meat and talking about small business tax incentives will put the best wonk into a coma.
Betsy had the same online experience that I did and I feel much the same way she did last night.
I thought Romney had an excellent night as it was happening. But after seeing online reactions and what stuck with people, it might not have been a good night in retrospect. As I said on Twitter, I noticed that most women on Facebook and Twitter who follow politics and most men in general thought that Romney “won.” But women who don’t follow politics, for whom this was their first big introduction to Romney? They were, during the debate, using words like “aggressive,” “rude,” and “boring.” And I noticed that many of them either stopped talking about the debate or said they were changing the channel after the Big Bird fiasco.
That’s not a good first impression.
Sure, Mitt Romney came off forcefully but he interrupted a lot (which is a big pet peeve of mine even in the real world), said he wanted the last word and basically blew off Jim Lehrer’s debate formula. Mind you, Lehrer lost control of the debate within the first five minutes but I found myself thinking that the moderator totally being dissed and ignored was disrespectful. Obama didn’t start playing from the rewritten rules until about 50 minutes in but I don’t see what choice he had.
I will say this though, I hope this isn’t the new face of politics. You see, there were things that Romney could have said other than Big Bird, Lehrer you are fired and dissing Spain and what not. He didn’t. Pres. Obama could have brought up the 47 percent comments Romney recently made and the Lilly Ledbetter act. He didn’t.
My theory is that you save those things for the town hall meetings but that’s just me. I saw last night some things that will fade from the public eye once Lindsey Lohan takes the spotlight again. I can’t help but wonder if Obama remained more restrained for the end-game of this race. And Mitt’s zingers seemed to be more about cutting PBS and alienating some independent voters that were stunned by his aggression.
It will be the independents, and more conversation about the middle class and the working poor. that will change the debate. And facts on both side are important. The sad reality is that we have campaigns happening 365 days a year every year and people tune things out.
We need to get better on that but I’ve said that before. There is a new news cycle now.
In politics, the cycle as long as a mayfly’s life as well. So what is going to stick, what isn’t and honestly you are only as good as your last debate in situations like this.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And Big Bird, yeah, that will stick around for awhile, but will the policy information thrown out last night that will guide us the next four years?
I doubt it and that’s a shame actually.