The media event of the week for me. What was yours?

22 Oct,2012

By Peter Mukerjea


When you have probably the most powerful man in the world, along with someone who is looking to topple him from that perch and take his place – you can safely say that you almost have probably the two most seriously powerful men in the world, together in an arena. They are then slugging it out for almost two hours nonstop and are no doubt being watched by a global audience of billions, in goodness knows how many languages; it turns into a most enthralling media opportunity.


For both these two alpha males it was an opportunity to present themselves to their supporters, their opponents supporters and those voters who are fence-sitting and undecided. But also, to the people of the world at large, to other political leaders, students of politics and so on and so forth.


The issues they talked about, their presentation styles, techniques, body language, facial expressions, timekeeping, dress sense, quality of their content were all being minutely analyzed by this vast audience in offices, bedrooms and living rooms around the world – depending on the time zone in which they were watching. It was just great TV viewing. I’m sure this is exactly what was in his mind when one media mogul once said: “Give me a war and I’ll give you the pictures.”


I guess it’s a little easier, not much though, if you’re the challenger and not yet in office but are looking to knock down the incumbent and can therefore be a little more relaxed than if you’re in the hot seat as the President and having to defend your actions of the past four or so years and where the result of some of those actions are still not yet visible.


This was war at its best. Both sides aimed at each other and fired without fear of retribution or of spilling blood. It was truly a great spectacle to watch. I have to say that even though I’m an Obama supporter and a follower of the Democrats’ philosophy, I thought Romney came off marginally better in the debate overall. He was a better speaker and I was a little disappointed by Obama’s slightly lacklustre performance overall. They were both wonderful to watch but neither was as slick or well groomed or more articulate than Bill Clinton – who takes the cake, surely, for public speaking. Clinton is a charmer all round.


They were both terrific though and each had their own moments of glory and moments when they were a little pensive.


But, they attacked, they argued, they growled but with a smile and they defended. They took potshots at each other and did not relent one bit. They were both as slick as it gets on TV, without it being a drama or a soap opera or a late night chat show or a reality show. Well, it was a kind of reality show, with a prize at the end of it and what a prize that is – to be the next President of the United States.


The host of the debate deserves a mention too. She was equally good and remarkable how she managed to keep these two – equivalent of male tigers ie candidates, to their specified times and subjects throughout the duration. It was a boxing match in many ways but without the physical bashing or ringing of a bell signifying the end of every round and a getting final winner at the end of the match.


I was wondering if we will ever be able to see such a debate in India on TV between our esteemed political party leaders and when that might be. And equally important – who would be a capable host for such a debate?


Never mind that. I guess we will when we’re nice and ready to do so.


In the meantime let us sit back and enjoy good TV viewing from the other side of the world and I for one look forward to the next such debate in a couple of days’ time.


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