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An Occasional Note on the Campaigns No. 15

Stateside with Rosalea Barker

An Occasional Note on the Campaigns No. 15

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Senator John McCain and an overhead projector—object of his scorn in the first part of the second presidential debate, Tuesday, October 7, 2008.

Don’t you just hate writing with a big ole black felt-tip marker pen? Poor John McCain had to use one during the second presidential debate and you have to wonder why. Did he leave his trusty signing fountain pen on the bus that night? Did it leak? Is his eyesight going?

God forbid that he won’t be able to read the fine print on any legislation he might have to sign if he’s elected president! Why, then he’ll be like all those people who signed up for mortgages that turned septic on them and whom he decries as architects of their own fate.

I watched Tuesday’s debate in the company of polisci students, a politely quiet mixed group of Democrats and Republicans. Luckily I missed the first presidential debate, so didn’t have to share in the complaint of many viewers that this one was just that one warmed over. (Debates, I mean, not people holding microphones.)

My reaction was that both candidates conspicuously avoided answering the questions asked of them, an especially rude thing to do when it was the people’s only chance to ask in person. And John McCain was incredibly patronizing in the way he spoke to some of those in-person persons.

Great choice on November 4, eh! Between someone who speaks to you like you’re on an elementary school field trip and another who speaks to you like you’re a student in his university class.

The majority of people in the U.S. are at high school level in their grasp of concepts and knowledge of the world outside their immediate situation. So which way will they fall in November—towards a candidate who makes them feel comfortable and superior, or one who makes them feel like they’re doing the “American” thing of striving for something higher?

Remember guys and guyesses, high school is ALL about issues.

Here’s what some other folks thought about the debate:

From Free Press, a press release about the findings of the third Citizens Media Scorecard of the 2008 campaign season. According to the press release, “An online panel of more than 2,800 volunteers was recruited by Free Press to rate the conduct of moderator Tom Brokaw during Tuesday night's "town hall" debate.

“The panel thought that Brokaw's decision not to fact-check the candidates or challenge their spin was a problem: 83% of Obama supporters and 75% of McCain supporters wanted to see more challenging follow-up questions from the moderator.”

In a pre-debate column on the Columbia Journalism Review website, Liz Cox Barrett bemoans moderator Tom Brokaw’s seeming agreement to rules that would make any decent journalist turn in his gravitas. No follow-up questions? What next! (Verbatim, unquestioning spouting of government propaganda comes to mind, though “next” is long in the past for that eventuality.)

Broadcasting and Cable reported on how The Open Debate Coalition has been pushing for video of the debates to be freely available so people can blog about them without being fearful of prosecution for copyright infringement. (Of course, free availability would also lead to mash-ups. But truly it is written that ye who offer only sound bites deserve to get soundly bitten. And yea, if thou stayest only on message, expect to get messed with.)

The above links were all provided in a newsletter from Free Press. For a negative view on other aspects of The Open Debate Coalition’s proposal go here.

And for a fun time, go here for The Free Culture Game. It “is a game about the struggle between free culture and copyright. Create and defend the common knowledge from the vectorial class. Liberate the passive consumers from the domain of the market.”



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