Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Debates That Aren't

With a title like "Do the US presidential debates matter?," one might think that Mark Mardell had been watching The Newsroom on HBO before writing this editorial for BBC News. He certainly seems to have gotten the point that the HBO series made clear through their own dramatic context. He just articulated that point in more objective language:
What matters most is not the closely drawn intellectual argument about rival policy platforms, but the body language and the pithy one-liner that sums up an opponent's faults.
Most of us do not need to be reminded that this is all that matters. We are used to living in a culture preoccupied with television advertising preaching that no problem is so difficult that it cannot be solved by buying a new car. We expect to have Presidential candidates promoted to us through the same strategies that seem to work so well for cars, knowing full well that neither the cars nor the candidates are going to deliver "as advertised." After watching Democracy Now! yesterday, the only thing that really matters to me is whether or not Jim Lehrer will have the gumption to bring up the topic of gun control in the state where that issue has reared its ugly head twice. My guess is that the "mad men" mentality will overrule any effort to bring such a "hot button" issue into the debate, leading me to believe that viewers are likely to learn more about the candidates by using their cable providers on-demand facility to watch past episodes of Boss.

1 comment:

DigitalDan said...

You're no doubt right, but the tiny non-cynical bone in me would like to defer judgment until after the event. Hope springs eternal, at least until they find a way to charge for it.