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Monday, October 15, 2012

Why I will be Listening To NOT Watching the Debate While Livetweeting Tomorrow

Ever since the Kennedy-Nixon debate the visual, rather than the substance, has been emphasized by those trying to make sense of it all. Last week's VP debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan was, in many ways, the zenith of that media phenomenon. It was confounding to watch unfold in real time the perception among some serious members of the chattering classes that Ryan somehow defeated or drew with Biden, who, in my opinion, was clearly the winner. The argument made by the Ryan partisans was that Biden smiled excessively, derisively. The Biden smiling hashtag -- in its many incarnations -- even made its way up the top trending topics.

It should not be like this. The substance of the debate -- the meat of the arguments made -- ought to be front and center an any analysis of the action. A way in which I think could solve the problem of overly superficial observation of Presidential and Vice Presidential debate is to cut out the visuals altogether. So tomorrow I will not only be tweeting the debate, cautiously, but I will also be listening to the debate exclusively on NPR without any visuals (or any interruptions). I will try, without the aid of visuals, to render a judgement point-by-point via Twitter without the foolishness of body language factored in. Join me live tomorrow starting at 9Pm to see how this little social media experiment goes ...

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