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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Behind The Debates: Style Over Substance

NBC’s “Today” this morning examined what goes on behind the scenes at the debates. Rather than focus on politics, the focus was on the stagecraft. Everything from the ties the candidates wear to the meal they eat beforehand to the zingers that they say “off the cuff” are plotted out in advance.

WATCH:


Elsewhere, the St Louis Post-Dispatch writes about Anheuser-Busch, which plays a key role as the corporate sponsor of the debates. What’s that? You didn’t know that these stalwart elements of democracy had corporate sponsors? Well, they do:

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With ‘Monday Night Football’ And MLB Playoffs, A Ratings Challenge For The Final Debate

The first two Presidential debates were ratings juggernauts, utterly dominating the TV landscape the nights they aired (it helps that it was on nearly a dozen channels). Tonight is the third and final Presidential debate, but while the anticipation may be high, the competition for eyeballs will be fierce.

Two big sporting events are on tap for tonight, “Monday Night Football” on ESPN, and game seven of the MLB National League Championship Game on Fox. The baseball game will result in one fewer broadcast network covering the debate, and fans of the Cardinals, Giants, Lions or Bears will have to choose between watching Obama and Romney spar yet again, or watching their favorite team take home an important win.

Brian Stelter writes in the NY Times that ESPN is trying to convince viewers that they don’t have to choose, they can watch both!

A pair of ads that started appearing on ESPN on Saturday promote the WatchESPN app, which allows subscribers of certain cable companies to watch ESPN on phones and computers at no additional charge.

“This debate will be settled on the gridiron,” one of the ads says, after referencing the verbal battle that will be taking place on a stage in Boca Raton, Fla. The ad concludes, “Don’t miss a minute of Monday Night Football on ESPN, the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.”

 

Obama on Matthews: ‘Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg. This time around, I gave him a stroke’

FNC’s Roger Ailes sits behind Pres. Obama, Gov. Romney and Cardinal Dolan at annual Al Smith dinner.

Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney set aside their political differences for a few minutes to poke fun at themselves, at each other, and at the media, at the annual Al Smith dinner last night in New York City. But the politicians weren’t the only ones to break bread with their rivals at the event, which this TVNewser attended: media executives and personalities from competing networks mingled over dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.

The candidates, who sat on either side of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the New York Catholic Archdiocese, were flanked on the dais by some of the television industry’s most famous faces. Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sat among two people who have him to thank for their start in TV: on his left, Maria Bartiromo, who Ailes hired at CNBC in 1993, and on his right, one seat away, Chris Matthews, who Ailes hired in 1994 at the network that would become MSNBC. Katie Couric and Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. were also seated on the dais.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews chats with Roger Ailes.

Both candidates took aim at the media in their lighthearted speeches, which all three of the general cable networks broadcast live.

“I particularly want to apologize to Chris Matthews,” Pres. Obama said of his performance in the first Presidential debate. “Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg. This time around, I gave him a stroke.”

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Debate Ratings: 65.6 Million Watch 2nd Presidential Debate

The final numbers are in, and 65.6 million people watched the second presidential debate live on TV last night, according to Nielsen.

Nielsen’s number includes NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, Fox News, CNN, Current TV, CNBC and MSNBC.

All told, the second debate was down slightly from the first Presidential debate of the cycle, which drew 67.2 million viewers, and up significantly from last week’s VP debate, which drew 51.4 million. Compared to the second debate of 2008, the ratings are up by a few million viewers.

You can view the breakdown of the cable and broadcast ratings from last night here.

Megyn Kelly on Debate Coverage: ‘Let’s not start criticizing the moderator before she’s moderated’

The Presidential debates have brought interest in the election to a fever pitch, and for Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier — who are the face of Fox News’ political coverage — that extra push has led them to a major milestone.

More than 10 million people watched Kelly and Baier’s coverage of the Vice Presidential debate last Thursday, putting Fox News ahead of its competitors: cable and broadcast.

“It’s amazing to me,” Kelly told TVNewser Monday as we stopped by the set of her “America Live” program.

“FNC has been such a powerhouse for a long time, but it’s still a cable news operation, and people have to pay for cable, and not everybody has it. So whenever we beat the nets, that’s a big deal. That gets all of our attention.”

From her perch at the Fox News anchor desk, Kelly has had a front-row seat to the first two debates. She is quick to defend Jim Lehrer, who was widely criticized for his handling of the first Presidential debate, saying he did “exactly what a moderator should do, which is get out of the way.”

Kelly said the campaigns and the media “are not aligned in their missions when it comes to the debates,” noting the early criticism of tonight’s moderator, CNN anchor Candy Crowley, came from the campaigns’ concern that she might ask follow-up questions of the candidates.

“Let’s not start criticizing the moderator before she’s moderated! Let’s give the woman a break and let her do her job and let’s see how she does it,” Kelly said. “If she tries to make the debate all about her, and insert a bunch of Candy Crowley questions, instead of the town hall questions, that won’t be

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BuzzFeed: VP Joe Biden Planning Post-Debate Morning Show Interviews

In the wake of his own debate last week, Vice President Joe Biden is planning to make the morning show rounds on Wednesday, following the second debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama. Biden will speak to NBC’s “Today,” “CBS This Morning” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller has the details:

The pre-booking stands in contrast to the last debate, when the Obama campaign was temporarily shell-shocked by the president’s performance. Aides waited more than 10 minutes to enter the “spin room” in Denver as they formulated a message. The following morning, aides, not high profile surrogates, took to TV.

Greta Van Susteren: ‘It scares me that the campaigns and candidates may be a bunch of scaredy cats’

Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren has issues with the Obama and Romney camps complaining about CNN’s Candy Crowley. As we noted earlier the campaigns are apparently worried that Crowley might actually ask follow-up questions. The horror!

Van Susteren:

The is no question that Candy Crowley is a pro with years and years of real experience….but if a candidate fears what Candy might ask at a debate, what happens when the candidate faces world leaders? Shrink and run?

It scares me that the campaigns and candidates may be a bunch of scaredy cats.

‘That’s Tonight, After Chris Matthews’ Head Explodes’

As we prepare for the first Vice Presidential debate, David Letterman had some fun with MSNBC’s coverage of the first Presidential debate. Showing a faux promo of the, “MSNBC debate remix where you can see Mitt Romney going head to head against video of Barack Obama from his 2008 campaign. When he wasn’t phoning it in. That’s tonight, after Chris Matthews‘ head explodes. Only on MSNBC.”

See it at the end of the monologue…

First Andrea Mitchell, Now Big Bird

Yesterday, the Obama campaign used MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell in a campaign ad, sparking a complaint from NBC News (as of this morning the ad was still airing, at least on our TVs here in the office).

Today, the campaign is using another popular non-partisan public figure in an attack against the Romney campaign: Big Bird.

WATCH:

The ad has aired on some TV news programs, but those are not paid buys. BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller has the details:

 

Update: No surprise here, Sesame Workshop has released a statement asking the Obama campaign to remove the ad.

Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.

Nick News ‘Disappointed’ That Mitt Romney Declines to Appear In Special

Nick News, the series of TV news specials on Nickelodeon, says it is “disappointed” that GOP candidate Mitt Romney declined to appear on this election cycle’s “Kids Pick the President” special. President Obama is appearing, and taped his answers to kids questions at the White House. Archive video clips of Romney answering similar questions to the ones kids asked will be used during the special.

“After numerous attempts by “Nick News” to get former Governor Mitt Romney to participate in the special, his camp declined saying he was unable to fit it into his schedule,” said a Nickelodeon statement.

“By answering kids’ questions directly, candidates show respect for kids,” said host Linda Ellerbee in a statement.  “We are disappointed that Mitt Romney wouldn’t take the time to answer the questions, but are thrilled that President Obama participated in the special.”

“Nick News” has been a staple on Nickelodeon for 21 years, and its “Kids Pick the President” specials have been better than most pundits when it comes to predicting who will win the Presidential election. The “kids” in the specials have correctly predicted who will win in five of the last six elections.

More information, after the jump.

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