Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 250

The first Democratic debate: Too many candidates, too little time

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 29 giugno 2019

By Mathew Ingram. There were plenty of issues with the first round of Democratic debates. NBC had live-streaming lag issues and a hot mic problem involving two of the debate moderators meant they could be heard talking after they left the stage, a gaffe that repeatedly interrupted Chuck Todd when he was trying to ask Elizabeth Warren a question about gun control. But the biggest problem by far was one that was abundantly obvious before the debates even happened: Too many candidates—ten of them, to be specific, so many that every shot of the stage by definition had to be a fish-eye lens shot—and not enough time. Sixty seconds to answer a question and 30 seconds for a follow-up was barely enough time to string together a few sentences and look sternly into the camera, let alone make a substantial statement.
The result was also fairly predictable: Lots of shouting and interrupting (mostly by New York mayor Bill de Blasio) and repeated pleas of “your time is up” from the moderators, as the candidates continued trying to belabor their favorite point. And the difficulty of keeping track of all the people running (a problem compounded by the fact that “super” credits identifying the candidates showed up late and in some cases were completely missing) was compounded by the fact that there were arguably too many moderators as well—three of them (Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart) asked questions during the first half of the program, and then another two (Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow) performed the same function during the second half.At certain points, some of the moderators—particularly Díaz-Balart and Maddow—seemed to be trying almost as hard as the candidates to make an impression on the audience, prefacing their questions with expository statements about topics like gun control and immigrant rights. And almost every candidate resorted to the typical tricks to get around the questions they didn’t want to answer: Namely, answering a previous question asked of one of their opponents that fit more closely with their favorite platform planks. Another casualty of the time constraint? Any real ability for moderators to challenge the candidates’ responses. Tulsi Gabbard, for example, made comments about her experience in the military (she served in Iraq with the National Guard) that suggested she was anti-war, but several observers noted that she has also showed support for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.Each campaign spent the evening tweeting out what they thought were their candidates’ best jabs or bits of repartee, trying to maximize the PR benefit of being part of the event. And much of the post-debate commentary centered on who had “won” by raising their profile the most. Many, including the folks at Politico, felt the big winner was Julian Castro, who saw searches for his name spike by more than 2,400 percent while the debate was underway, according to Google Trends. But other factors were difficult to judge amid the noise of the debates themselves, and will probably only become clear over time. Did Beto speaking in Spanish show that he’s a man of the people, or was he just pandering? De Blasio mentioned his black son more than once—would that help build support in the black community, or would he be seen as trying to make his son a campaign prop?
Trump, meanwhile, rendered his verdict on the evening in a tweet that said simply: “Boring!” and later mocked NBC’s hot-mic incident by saying it was “worthy of a fake news organization, which they are.” For many, the entire exercise seemed futile as a way of actually determining what candidates stood for. Cramming so many candidates into such a short space of time left them either clamoring to get a word in so they could try to make an impression on voters by shouting bumper-sticker style slogans, or disappearing into the woodwork. It seemed more like a ratings grab by NBC than a worthwhile airing of issues related to the election (although it’s not the network’s fault there are so many Democratic candidates). And the best part is we get to do it all again in the second round of debates tonight.(font:CJR Editors)

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