Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CNN-TV: Veep Debate--Same Coverage, Different People

by Christina London

If you’re like me, you may have experienced deja vu Thursday night while watching the vice presidential debate. As I mentioned in my last blog, it’s a challenge for each network to produce captivating debate coverage; there simply aren’t many ways to be creative with talking heads. Still, CNN covered the event practically the same way it did during the presidential debate a week ago.

Return of the Meter
It was back for a second week: the dreaded Audience Reaction Meter. However, CNN redeemed itself a bit this time around. Instead of showing political parties, the horizontal lines on the meter represented the sexes: a red line for women and a green line for men. They would rise or fall based on whether people were feeling positively or negatively about what was being said at any particular moment.

Overall, I didn’t notice much of a difference between men and women, although the red line would often hover above the green one. (Maybe this means women are more passionate about the issues?) Still, the meter indicated what was important to people in general. For instance:

  • Overwhelming, people favored Biden’s view on Iran and Pakistan over Palin's.

  • People actually care about the genocide in Darfur.

  • They dislike “No Child Left Behind.”

  • So how’d she do?
    In the after show, the panelists set out to answer the question, “How did Sarah Palin perform?” They harped on it so much that if you were just tuning in, you might have wondered if Joe Biden was even there. Although one-sided, I understand why this was the focus. Last Thursday, that's exactly what people were talking about: is Palin going to sink, swim or just keep her head above water?

    Watch the Commentators from CNN

    As expected, the pundits basically just gushed about how well their respective candidate did. Here’s what a few had to say about Palin and the debate:

    “This was the Sarah Palin from the beginning of the campaign, not the one who showed up to the Katie Couric interview…Joe Biden gave the best debate performance of his life.”

    David Gergen, Political Commentator

    “Conservatives never win debates on Iraq. Period.”
    Alex Castellanos, Republican Media Consultant

    “Not a major game changer.”
    Campbell Brown, CNN News Anchor/Commentator

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