Reading Between The Leadership Lines

I watched the historic leaders debate on the telly last night along with 9.4 million other people which puts the viewing figures somewhere between Doctor Who and soap operas but nowhere near as high as the X-Factor.

I say I watched but of course Twitter transforms these events as it does BBC’s Question Time as the stream of reactions, sarcasm and humour curiously add to the event in a very modern stream-of-information-&-reaction way.

I was particularly interested in Channel 4’s fact check Twitter feed which would try to link to the known statistics behind any of the leaders statistical claims in an attempt to separate spin from fact. A very modern media experience.

I was a little puzzled as to the need for an audience other than to give the three leaders a place to focus their eye line. As the rules drawn up by the three leaders had stipulated that the audience could not clap, jeer, applaud or interject at any point then it initially made for an eerie experience and leaving the impression of an audience giving the leaders utterances a cold shoulder by sitting in silence. As the questions had already been known in advance I have to question the need to have an audience at all in this particularly strangulated adaptation of democracy.

The next leaders debate will be on subscription Sky so I won’t get to see it live but maybe that’s not a bad thing as the live audio will be on the radio and it’s what’s said that counts though sadly image  and presentation does sway so many more people these days as indeed it did in the 1960 US Nixon vs Kennedy debate. Britain catches up with the past?

Photo by IK’s World Trip under this creative commons license

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