Read below and tell me (post) what you think about how television covers the debate….
TV Debates That Sell More Than Just Drama
By DAVID CARR
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was trailing Richard Nixon as they stepped into the crucible of the first nationally televised debate. While Kennedy soared, Nixon stumbled and never recovered.
Network television played a definitive role, but those were very different times. There were three networks, not 500 channels, and the consumer Internet was still very much on the drawing board of the future.
Half a century later, televised debates remain relevant, but the ritual is up against an always-on informational stream that surges with political messages. Television is packed full of political ads from the $2.5 billion being spent on the presidential election, coverage is up-to-the-second on cable news, and social media followings on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have surged tenfold since 2008. Against this backdrop, a traditional debate would seem far less consequential. By this point, voters have already been targeted, persuaded and tallied.
Except for this: 67.2 million viewers tuned into the first debate, according to Nielsen, making it second only to the Super Bowl so far this year. That’s a mind-blowing level of tune-in. More to the point, Mitt Romney clobbered President Obama and in the sort of shift that political operatives dream about, moved four to six points in the polls.
Ratings sometimes go up in the second and third rounds of the debate cycle, and given the kind of Frazier-Ali hype surrounding this matchup, there is no telling how many people will watch Round 2 at Hofstra University on Tuesday night.
How is it that a ritual as old as Lincoln-Douglas — or Socrates versus Gorgias if you want to go all the way back to the Greeks — was able to move the needle at a time when audiences are so fragmented?
Credit live event television, the last remaining civic common in an atomized CLICK HERE