No cheers. No boos.
After Sunday’s Democratic debate between Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Pennsylvania governor: Biden nomination will be ‘virtually clinched’ after next Tuesday How coronavirus is changing Sunday’s debate The Memo: Coronavirus scrambles the art of campaigning MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pennsylvania governor: Biden nomination will be ‘virtually clinched’ after next Tuesday How coronavirus is changing Sunday’s debate The Memo: Coronavirus scrambles the art of campaigning MORE went audience-free due to coronavirus concerns, many members of the media praised the format.
“To all those commenting that a debate without an audience is an improvement, I agree,” tweeted former CBS News host Dan Rather. “Who knew that substance over histrionics is preferable? Maybe that could be more generally extended to campaign coverage and cable news talking heads, including my own efforts.”
To all those commenting that a debate without an audience is an improvement, I agree. Who knew that substance over histrionics is preferable? Maybe that could be more generally extended to campaign coverage and cable news talking heads, including my own efforts.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 16, 2020
Many journalists said the format eliminated distractions and called for more debates without a live audience. The venue and setup were changed for Sunday’s debate following official recommendations for smaller public gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Previous Democratic debates were punctuated by both boos and cheers that at times shaped viewers’ perceptions of the events.
This is serious, substantive, informative – and interesting. Is there a need to ever have an audience for a debate again?
— Joel Siegel (@joelmsiegel) March 16, 2020
This debate with no audience is the best yet. The 2 candidates are respectful of each other and focused. The moderators are letting them talk. It feels important. More of this please.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) March 16, 2020
It really is a remarkable thing, though, to see these two candidates standing 6 feet apart, looking directly at each other as they debate policy — and going long, without much interruption from the moderators or an audience. Let’s never have a debate audience again! #DemDebate
— Samit Sarkar (@SamitSarkar) March 16, 2020
I personally like not hearing audience cheer and heckle during a debate. What about you?
— Sharyl Attkisson️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) March 16, 2020
It’s wild we don’t do this no audience at debates thing all the time, so much nicer when the candidates aren’t yelling at each other over catcalls, cheers and boos
— Ryan Murphy (@rdmurphy) March 16, 2020
Please, please don’t EVER bring back a live audience. Without verbal interruptions and the candidates playing to the crowd they see, the debate became the kind of serious exchange the voters need. #DemocraticDebate
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) March 16, 2020
However, MSNBC’s Ari Melber argued that an audience can act as a “counterweight” to the media.
“An audience can add some counterweight to how the media sets the agenda/topics,” he tweeted.
Truly changes the whole energy of the debate; basically there are pros and cons to both formats (an audience can add some counterweight to how the media sets the agenda/topics) https://t.co/ZZOivzR9hH
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) March 16, 2020
The Media Once Again Heralds Trump’s New Somber “Tone” – Vanity Fair
On air, CNN’s Kate Bolduan said the death toll presser marked “a shift in [Trump’s] tone,” while MSNBC anchor Brian Williams said of the president’s comments, “For his part—and this gets to the tone and demeanor change—Trump warned that the next two weeks would be tough,” before also noting the president “veered off into other topics, including what sounded like a bit of revisionist history.”
This latest round of coverage in the changed Trump genre was met with a levy of criticism from journalists and Democratic figures alike. “When I advocate for basic human rights, people will dismiss the substance of what I say due to my ‘tone,’” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to Politico’s Sherman. “But if you’re Trump, some of those same folks will cite ‘tone’ to minimize his reckless flu comparisons, science denial, and lagging response costing 1000s of lives. Wild.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes sarcastically wrote it all off, tweeting, “Wait: Trump said a thing today and had a new tone!?! Fantastic. I’m sure it will last!” Daily Beast political editor and MSNBC contributor Sam Stein acknowledged “Trump’s tone is different today. But are we all forgetting that he had a two day stretch where he was super somber before declaring that he wanted the country to reopen by Easter?” Stein added that he’ll be ready to cover Trump’s “new tone when he acknowledges how wrong his old tone was.” Ben Rhodes, a former Barack Obama adviser, suggested that coverage of Trump’s actions are far more important than his verbal demeanor: “I wish Trump’s tone would provide sufficient tests, ventilators, and other life saving equipment that should have been adequately distributed weeks ago.”
During Wednesday’s Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Willie Geist flashed back to the president’s previous short-lived attempts at a somber tone, saying, “We’ve learned, and I think the public has learned, over the last couple of years to be wary of a perceived pivot or change in tone. What looks like a change in tone of one moment is a series of tweets the next moment and he’s pivoted back to where he was.”
While Trump did use podium time to emphasize the seriousness of the pandemic, and even contradicted past comments by assuring the public that “it’s not the flu. It is vicious,” he also made sure to include shots at his usual political targets, like Cuomo, whom he accused of “complaining” about his state’s lack of ventilators. “The problem is with some people, no matter what you give, it’s never enough,” he said. “It’s never enough.” Despite addressing the nation amid a pandemic, the president made sure to air out his past grievances against former FBI officials Andrew McCabe and James Comey—who were both name-dropped while he asked reporters to read their 2016 report on Russian interference to “see how horrible it was”—and Democratic lawmakers, of which he claimed, “Their whole existence was to try and get me out of office any way they can.”
Message of support to local media – Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes show support to our partner’s employees at 98,5, RDS and TSN radio, and to all the media impacted by the repercussions of this virus. We encourage you all to support our local economy and invite you to keep watching, reading and listening to our local media who have always accomplished and carried out great work. We must unite around common goals to remain a strong society progressing in the same direction.
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