Open thread: The first debate

posted at 8:21 pm on October 3, 2012 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET all across the dial and streaming live at C-SPAN.org. Yesterday’s WSJ/NBC poll had 22 percent of likely voters saying that the debates will be “extremely important” to their vote. Today, Rasmussen finds 17 percent saying they’ll be “very important.” Either way, you’ve got roughly one-fifth of the electorate signaling some willingness to shift based on what happens tonight (and at the next two face-offs) in a race that’s statistically tied at the moment and arguably only now just beginning. To paraphrase “Honest Joe,” this is potentially a big effing deal.

Also a big effing deal? The media’s post-debate “narrative-building”:

Consider this experiment. In 2004, Kim Fridkin and other researchers at Arizona State University showed people footage of the third presidential debate, the debate plus 20 minutes of post-debate commentary on NBC, the debate plus 20 minutes’ time to read commentary on CNN.com. So who won the debate, Bush or Kerry? It depended on whether you watched the news…

People watching the debate tended to think that Kerry had won, as did those who read analysis on CNN. But those who watched the NBC post-morten had the opposite impression. Fridkin et al. write:

“Our findings suggest that voters’ attitudes are influenced by the arguments presented directly by the candidates during the debate as well as by the media’s instant analyses of the candidates’ debate performances….the impact of the candidates’ messages was often altered by the media’s instant analyses.”

The idea of NBC boosting Bush doesn’t compute for me any more than it does for you, but there you go. It’s not just the post-debate yammering that might influence viewers, either:

Through the art of video production, one candidate can be portrayed more favorably than the other. On October 7, 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain met for the second of three presidential debates. The format was a town hall debate. Both men roamed the floor and locked eyes with the audience members who asked questions. Numerous cameras were placed around the room to capture the candidates regardless of where they stood.

While equal time was given to each man for questions, the audience, when viewing the televised debate, experienced subtle differences in the camera angles for each candidate. Typically, when Obama spoke, the camera displayed a close up, eye-level image, filling the frame with his upper chest and face. This presented to the viewer a strong image of Obama. In contrast, when McCain spoke, the camera often showed a waist-up, medium shot, filling the frame with as much background as McCain himself. These shots made McCain appear small, which was exaggerated from time to time by camera angles that looked down on him. In addition, because of the wide shots of McCain, Obama had more face time on camera, as he was often shown in the background when McCain answered a question.

No one expects Romney to get a fair shake tonight in the aftermath, but one potential complicating factor is that not all of the media’s biases are strictly ideological. Ross Douthat (and Jon Chait) made a fair point recently about how their bias towards horse-race coverage casts a shadow of hopelessness over the candidate that’s fallen behind in the polls. Highly motivated, strongly partisan voters won’t care about that but low-information undecideds who pay attention only sporadically may be led to perceive the trailing candidate as, in Chait’s words, “faintly ridiculous,” which destroys the air of presidential viability that he’s trying to build. In Romney’s case, the ideological and horse-race biases overlap to work against the GOP, but they don’t always: John Cook of Gawker argued a few days ago that the media’s doing to Romney what it once did to both John Kerry and Al Gore, namely, pigeonholing him as a weird, stiff, hapless loser because his slight personal awkwardness is an obvious contrast with the confident charm of his opponent. It’s all about the narrative, and if they’ve got a narrative staring them in the face involving a guy who’s good at retail politics and a guy who’s not so good, that’s one that they’re going to grasp.

The punchline is that the media’s also biased for professional reasons towards having an exciting race to cover, and a post-debate “Romney comeback” narrative would serve that end. I’m not expecting it — I think ideological interests will trump all given that the race is so close — but if Mitt is sharp and composed, which he’s likely to be, you may see some “he helped himself tonight” chatter later even if there’s a reluctance by the press to pronounce him the winner. If you’re interested in watching the narrative sausage being made in real time, I recommend opening up a separate tab and following this feed of political journalists compiled by Matt Lewis. As with all Twitter communities, most of those people follow each other so there’ll be a plenty of perception insta-reinforcement afoot.

Tonight’s debate is supposed to be devoted to domestic policy but Libya likely will be mentioned. So will George W. Bush’s record, maybe by both sides. The 2007 Obama speech at Hampton U likely will not. Here’s the handy dandy Hot Air/Townhall Twitter widget, which should be buzzing until the wee hours. Enjoy.



Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4 5 46

Trolls… are your squirrels ready to go?

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Damn, Damn, Damn! My mother-in-law decided to unexpectedly pop in about an hour ago and now she won’t leeeeeeeeeeave!

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

valerie right next to michelle

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

(_!_)

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

The back end..

I see it now…

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

***NPR BREAKING NEWS***
Politico, NY Times, NBC News and ABC’s George Snuffleupagus already proclaim Barkey the winner of tonight’s debate
We now return you to our regular Left Wing programming…

Strike Hornet on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

we need you linky girl :)

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

I know, I just want everyone to look at a troll’s face
which looks like this :

(_!_)

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Still looks like boobies siting on a table to me… o_O

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

How do you debate someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder..?

d1carter on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

c-span IS LIVE ON tv

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Double Amen!

Hey.. maybe Romney’s garbage man will be in the audience? Maybe he’ll get to ask Romney by video why he hates garbage men so much.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

…IGNORE THE FLUKING TROLLS TONIGHT…!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Romney just threw up backstage and ran outside crying. Should I be concerned?

davemason2k on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

…LET’S MAKE A PACT!…IGNORE THE FLUKE OUT OF THE TROLLS TONIGHT…AND LET THEM O N L Y TALK TO EACH OTHER TONIGHT…!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

YES !! PLEASE !!!

pambi on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Dear God, give Romney the edge tonight. Thank you! Amen!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I hope we ignore the Trolls, otherwise it will just be a trollfest.

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Damn, Damn, Damn! My mother-in-law decided to unexpectedly pop in about an hour ago and now she won’t leeeeeeeeeeave!

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

That. Sux. Really. Bad.

DrStock on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

How soon does Gay Marriage and the Dream Act make its way into the debate? First hour? First 30?

El_Terrible on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 PM

It’s like Apollo 13..
Waiting for communication during that re-entry black-out..
T minus 4

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Electrongod:Lol,yup:)

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

my sister in law, who normally has a brain, said out of the blew “Ever since I saw this movie I have never been more ashamed of being white. I never realized how much “white privilege” I have experience.”
I about puked.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Tell her to rent ‘GUMMO’.

And then get back to you.

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Drudge has a headline up about today being the Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary. Michelle said “I’m going to make him write ‘ Love you, honey.’ on his hand.”

He even needs prompting for that…

Imagine what she’s like in the bedroom!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Overbearing :)

jimver on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Debate? I’m going to BED. Some of us have to work for a living. =)

TX-96 on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I just pray to God Romney doesn’t come out and praise the President for being such a nice guy and thank him for all the good he has done.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

So. Does. My. Post.

DrStock on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

…IGNORE THE FLUKING TROLLS TONIGHT…!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I will try…

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Jim Lear just said you all have to be quite. you’re too loud. He said if you hear something you don’t like then “Sit On IT!!”.

BoxHead1 on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Damn, Damn, Damn! My mother-in-law decided to unexpectedly pop in about an hour ago and now she won’t leeeeeeeeeeave!

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Slip a roofie in her tea….she’ll be out for at least…..uh…..nevermind…

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Debate? I’m going to BED. Some of us have to work for a living. =)

TX-96 on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

It’s only 8:50 out here on the east coast… C’mon now

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Teleprompters?

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

guaranteed

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Governor Romney, why do you oppose women’s access to affordable contraceptives?

El_Terrible on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Dear Lord please give Romney the words to succeed tonight.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Flora Duh on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Chuck her out, Flora! Some things are just that important! :)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

THIS IS SO EXCITING. I love C-Span.

GW_SS-Delta on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Alright I just took a muscle relaxer and ready to win

Conservative4ev on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I know, I just want everyone to look at a troll’s face
which looks like this :

(_!_)

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

but I thought O trolls looked like this (__0__), sorry had to go there.

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Tic Tic………….

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Ed Henry giving us the straight dope on Obama’s training.

Oy.

The problem for Romney, it seems to me, is what failures make the best point that Obama is an overall failure.

Romney relaxed. Obama crammed.

C’mon, Romney, cream this guy.

BTW: Obama’s darkest day–his wedding anniversary.

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I ain’t sitting on nuthing! Hmmmph, tell me to sit on it, wrong answer! Here we go!!!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Breaking: According to George Stephanopoulos, Obama has just won the first debate.

/someone probably made that joke already

KingGold on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Mooch looks nervous…

Rational Thought on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I just pray to God Romney doesn’t come out and praise the President for being such a nice guy and thank him for all the good he has done.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

If he does…

He’s a goner..

But he won’t

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Obama delayed….scored first par of his life, and was celebrating and Arbys

Rovin on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Rick Perry just offered Romney a muscle relaxer

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Drudge has a headline up about today being the Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary. Michelle said “I’m going to make him write ‘ Love you, honey.’ on his hand.”

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

AAaaawwww…that’s so 1960s.
BTW, how old are these 2 professional parasites ?

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

6 minutes

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I don’t normally pray, but…

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

My prayers have been a little more mundane, along the line of “Please, God, may You give Brother Romney the strength and vision tonight to introduce Barack Hussein Obama to a woodchipper, after the gutting and dismembering, of course. Yours, in faith, Amen.”

TXUS on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

How do you debate someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder..?

d1carter on October 3, 2012 at 8:50 PM

First you flatter them, then you hit them hard…

jimver on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Romney is sunk if the WH releases a video of Romney hugging a white garbage man.

JellyToast on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

jimver on October 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

I was thinking UNBEARABLE.

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I wonder if TOTUS is there!!

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

What happens if that gilled idiot shows up?

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Betcha Zero jumps off the stage to kiss his wife, saying “I haven’t seen her all day!” Betcha, betcha, betcha.

Rational Thought on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

do not talk to trolls!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Teleprompters?

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Obama was seen writing on the palm of his hands…

He was also seen squinting at what he wrote..

Electrongod on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

5 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Imagine what she’s like in the bedroom!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Uh…..No.

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Mr. President, economists at the world’s top universities believe that Mr. Romney’s economic plan will devastate the middle class and the American economy. Mr. President, will promise here today, that if you are elected, you will not follow Mr. Romney’s plan?

El_Terrible on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Drudge has a headline up about today being the Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary. Michelle said “I’m going to make him write ‘ Love you, honey.’ on his hand.”

He even needs prompting for that…

Imagine what she’s like in the bedroom!

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

…oh P A L E E E E SSSSS E…!!! ….INSTEAD OF SPEWING BEER!…my dinky just fell off!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Only the uninformed pay attention to debates

bs4948800 on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

MSNBC countdown: 5 minutes until debate

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Hope we get to see the Obamas air kiss tonight.
They are so NOT into each other.

bailey24 on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

BTW, how old are these 2 professional parasites ?

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

50 years older than they would be if their mothers hadn’t been unfairly burdened with babies…

SWalker on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Preezy Choom gets indignant and stalks off pouting. ACOA/NPD on full display. Maybe not tonite… but it will happen.

BHO Jonestown on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Michelle Obama looks worried. Ann Romney looks serene

BettyRuth on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

valerie Rasputin right next to michelle

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

FIFY.

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

I hear peoples talking!! Tell ‘em to hush it!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Mooch looks nervous…

Rational Thought on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

You would be too if your gravy-train was riding on this.

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

What if Obama asked to leave 10 minutes early so he can have anniversary dinner with wifey?

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

5 minutes

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

BuckeyeSam on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

my bad :)

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

********Tensions Mount(ing)***************

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

but I thought O trolls looked like this (__0__), sorry had to go there.

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

They look like (_O_) AFTER
they have had a meeting with
Barney Frank !!

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

this is tense!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

anderson cooper
middle class for the drinking game

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

AAaaawwww…that’s so 1960s.
BTW, how old are these 2 professional parasites ?

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

You know what, I always wondered the same, I am guessing they are in their 50s or so…never had the curiosity to google up their age exactly, even less so now that he probably won’t be around as preezy long enough to matter :)…

jimver on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

What happens if that gilled idiot shows up?

Lanceman on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Filet knife and a frying pan.

predator on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

What if Obama asked to leave 10 minutes early so he can have anniversary dinner with wifey?

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

and then the First Narcissist steps in.

22044 on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

…LORD HELP US!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

I don’t normally pray, but…

Dear Lord,

Please be with Mitt Romney tonight. Guide him. Give him wisdom.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

SouthernGent on October 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

For someone who doesn’t pray, that was a very nice prayer.

And as someone who does normally pray, I second your prayer.

My prayers have been a little more mundane, along the line of “Please, God, may You give Brother Romney the strength and vision tonight to introduce Barack Hussein Obama to a woodchipper, after the gutting and dismembering, of course. Yours, in faith, Amen.”

TXUS on October 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Ha ha! I’ll second that one too. :D

Sterling Holobyte on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

KCB on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Uh…sorry… wasn’t thinking! :)

thatsafactjack on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Sure is quieter on Cspan than Fox

txmomof6 on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

MSNBC countdown: 5 minutes until Obama wins debate

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:55 PM

FIFY

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

…LET’S MAKE A PACT!…IGNORE THE FLUKE OUT OF THE TROLLS TONIGHT…AND LET THEM O N L Y TALK TO EACH OTHER TONIGHT…!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:49 PM

YES!!!

bluefox on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

disgusting msnbc ad with aurora survivor talking about gun support…

Timin203 on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Corporal Tunnel on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I decided to include “The race is over” for every time a CNN reporter says it as part of Drinking game.

Suffice it say the room is spinning badly.

Varchild on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

+1 spot on

cmsinaz on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I am trying to find a clean-screen channel to watch the debate.

I don’t get C-Span.

I record these for posterity and I refuse to record the FoxNews feed because of the ridiculous distracting news crawl across the bottom of the screen.

Anyone know which channel may have the LEAST crap on the screen>

HEY FOX, TURN OFF YOUR STUPID SCREENCRAWLER FOR THE DEBATES. Same for the convention speeches.

DAMN IT to HECK!!!’

Sometimes Fox is so dang STUPID

cane_loader on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Who thinks Obama will be on the left side of the stage?

txmomof6 on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

So who else is convinced that the moderator worked with the Obama campaign to give the questions ahead of time?

runner2300 on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

…LORD HELP US!!!

KOOLAID2 on October 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Amen to that!

d.l.johnson on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

Jim Lehrer: Governor Romney..first question..Romneycare, your garbage man, your lawn guy, 47%..and now the question…”

Jim Lehrer: President Obama, Bin Laden dead GM alive, you look wonderful tonite, my what eye candy..and now your first question….”

malkinmania on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

They look like (_O_) AFTER
they have had a meeting with
Barney Frank !!

burrata on October 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

and here I thought it was just me after paying my fair share LOL!

uncommon sense on October 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

a regular comic genius

Tim_CA on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Let’s get this party started.

gophergirl on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

**************A News InterLude *****************

The War Widens………………….

Update: Mortar bomb fired from Syrian territory kills 5 Turkish civilians – @Reuters

13 mins ago from http://www.reuters.com by editor

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

2 FREAKING MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!1111!!!!!1

faraway on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Fox News, “They are both human beings”. That is debatable.

Hening on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Drink if Obama says:
Let me be clear
Bain Capital
Millionaires or Billionaires

athenadelphi on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

canopfor on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Oh Sh*t!!

Scrumpy on October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4 5 46