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Brian Williams Gives — Does Not Get — the Silent Treatment

Right out of the gate something was different about last night’s GOP debate on NBC. In the previous 17 debates, the crowd has acted as the 12th man, rooting for their favorite candidate and, often, against the media. But at the start moderator Brian Williams said, “We have asked our invited guests this evening to withhold their applause — any verbal reactions to what they hear on stage so as to ensure this is about the four candidates here tonight.”

While the upcoming general election debates will also include silent audiences, last night’s quiet didn’t go over well with media watchers. WaPo’s Alexandra Petri writing, “This turned out to be like warning the nursing home not to throw too many orgies. The only warning that mattered was the one he forgot to give, which was not to snore audibly or literally die from boredom in the course of the debate.

The Twitterati didn’t care for it either, with BuzzFeed pointing out it’s not always good to be a trending topic.

On Fox & Friends this morning, Newt Gingrich, who has benefited from a boisterous crowd said, “I wish in retrospect I had protested when Brian Williams took them out of it because I think it’s wrong. And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media.”

So what did you think?

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