What's All This Then?
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
COMMENT ON THE POST DEBATE PUNDITRY
For someone who was reluctant to say anything about the first presidential debate, I find that I have a lot more to say. However, I am going to restrain myself and not follow in the path of all the pundits who analyzed, dissected and passed judgment on the performances of the participants. Instead I am going to pen a few words about those self same pundits.
It was when I was watching some of the post debate news programs that it hit me. Some clips were shown of both Romney and the President making arguments. Not the shots of Obama looking down while Romney was speaking or of the President not responding to a Romney etch-a-sketch statement when it was his turn to respond. Just isolated clips of each man making his case. And the President sounded confident and competent. Specially if one looked away and just listened. And if you did that while Romney was speaking, he didn’t sound as confident and commanding as he looked. And I thought back to Nixon Kennedy and the reactions of those who watched them debate compared to those who only listened on the radio. The watchers thought Kennedy had won while the listeners opted for Nixon. I’m not saying that there is a direct correlation between Nixon/Kennedy and Obama/Romney but obviously how it was seen as well as how it was heard contributed to the overall impression of viewers. But I believe it is not just the debate itself that has moved the polls slightly in Romney’s favor.
I’ll admit that the President didn’t do as well as he should have done, but had there been no post debate punditry, less people - maybe far less people - would have thought that he did that badly or that the aggressive attack style of Romney and his sudden etch-a-sketch move to the center was a reason to think of him more favorably than before the debate when who he was and what he believed had been made abundantly clear. (Think 47% ). But the debate was only 90 minutes long and the post debate punditry has been flowing non stop ever since.
Obviously I couldn’t watch or listen to all of the punditry. There were too many stations and too many pundits. But the few that I watched from the progressive side - supporters of the President, acted and sounded as though they had witnessed some cataclysmic event. On MSNBC Chris Matthews was positively hysterical in his analysis - and on Current TV, Al Gore and his panel of analysts looked and sounded like they were attending a funeral of someone who unexpectedly had dropped dead at a young age. And I can only imagine the celebrations that are still going on over at the Fox cable channel.
What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t just the debate that swayed the kind of voters that can be swayed by this kind of a television event , but the pundits who rendered instant judgment and called winner and loser. It made me think of a line from one of the great Allen Sherman’s song parodies - " Al and Yetta" sung to the tune of the French children’s song- Alooette, Gentile Alouette
Al 'n' Yetta Watched An Operetta. Leonard Bernstein Told Them What They Saw.
And on Wednesday the pundits told us all what we saw and how we should think of it. A disaster. A catastrophe. A stunning victory. A masterful performance. Pick your pundit to discover what really happened. Or maybe do something to surprise the pundits. Pretend they don’t exist. Think for yourself.