Nov 28, 2020
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Duelling debates pose tough TV choice

When it comes to attracting voter attention, don’t underestimate the cringe factor.

The prospect of a spectacular crash-and-burn by U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Thursday’s televised debate is too good to resist for many Canadians, even though their own leaders will be vying for votes in a debate the same night, say observers.

The scheduling of Canada’s sole English-language leadership debate had political junkie Denis McGrath ranting over the “boneheaded” decision to pit it against the U.S. vice-presidential debate. Despite his ardent interest in Canadian politics, he declared would not be watching the Canadian tussle.

“There’s no way in hell I’m watching that thing,” said the Toronto-based McGrath, an American screenwriter with dual citizenship.

“Compared to the fake Tina Fey? Is (Palin) going to be bad, is she going to be good? This is actual drama. It kills me again that the United States manages once again to trump Canada in terms of the great political narratives,” McGrath added.

“I couldn’t write something as wacky as the Sarah Palin rise to power, and I’m looking forward to that debate on Thursday kind of like some people look forward to a cock fight or a dog fight.”

Indeed, a perverse curiosity seems to pervade much of the lead-up to the Palin showdown, in which the Republican Alaskan governor/hockey mom will spar with the more experienced democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden.

Many pundits predict a poor showing by Palin, who has been skewered on both sides of the political spectrum for her dubious grasp on the issues and was famously mocked in a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring look-alike comedienne Fey.

Still, there are some who suggest the bar has been lowered so much that Palin could do surprisingly well against Biden, who himself has been known to put his foot in his mouth when left to ramble. Alternatively, Biden could trounce Palin so decisively that he could come away looking like a bully, said McGrath.

CBC-TV anchor Peter Mansbridge noted that the U.S. debate will be the network’s biggest competition for viewers and joked about a touch of anxiety among CBC brass.

“We’re a public broadcaster so we’re not fixated on numbers, but they’re thinking of a split screen that night,” a jovial Mansbridge quipped recently while promoting CBC news coverage at the network’s fall launch.

“The (election) in the States is riveting, for all kinds of reasons. No matter who wins it’s going to be a historic outcome. This one (in Canada), not so riveting.”

But not everyone will be turned off by the homegrown debate, said political expert Henry Jacek, who nevertheless acknowledged that public interest in the Canadian election was likely lower this time around than the last race to the polls two years ago.

Jacek predicted more voters would be drawn to the Canadian debate, due to the simple fact that its outcome would affect their lives more directly than the U.S. debate.

The addition of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to the table could add an extra spark, while a recent surge in support for the NDP’s Jack Layton has increased the pressure on Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

“What is probably open at this point is who do (voters) want to support as an alternative to (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper, and that is really sort of the burning question in Canada today,” said Jacek, a McMaster University political scientist.

“For low-interest voters that haven’t made up their mind yet, I think they’re going to really want to look at the performance of Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton.”

The date for the Canadian debate was set by a consortium representing Canada’s largest English and French television networks: CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA.

Consortium spokesman Jason MacDonald said Oct. 1 and 2 were chosen for the French and English debates respectively, because the dates best accommodated the leaders’ schedules.

“It’s a relatively short campaign to begin with,” said MacDonald. “Once you’ve got (the debate date) set, it’s very difficult to change.”

The format will differ from previous leaders’ debates in significant ways, MacDonald said.

Due to the recent market meltdown, opening and closing statements have been eliminated to allow for more discussion on the economy, he said.

In another departure, the five candidates – rounded out by Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe – will be seated at a round table instead of a podium. The feisty May, known for an off-the-cuff demeanour, will be seated next to the staid Harper.

Despite the huge draw of the Palin-Biden faceoff, May urged Canadians to pay attention to their own election, calling it “simply the most important one in the history of our country.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate timing,” May said of the schedule.

“I’m hoping that people will decide to watch the Canadian debate live and check out YouTube later for whatever exciting moments there are between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.”

“I’ll do my very level best to make this entertaining and interesting so that Canadians will just say: `Don’t touch that dial.’ Stay tuned to your own election.”

Canada’s English-language debate, to be moderated by TVO host Steve Paikin, airs Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

The U.S. debate airs from 9 to 10.30 p.m. ET.

Source: The Canadian Press

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Duelling debates pose tough TV choice

When it comes to attracting voter attention, don’t underestimate the cringe factor.

The prospect of a spectacular crash-and-burn by U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Thursday’s televised debate is too good to resist for many Canadians, even though their own leaders will be vying for votes in a debate the same night, say observers.

The scheduling of Canada’s sole English-language leadership debate had political junkie Denis McGrath ranting over the “boneheaded” decision to pit it against the U.S. vice-presidential debate. Despite his ardent interest in Canadian politics, he declared would not be watching the Canadian tussle.

“There’s no way in hell I’m watching that thing,” said the Toronto-based McGrath, an American screenwriter with dual citizenship.

“Compared to the fake Tina Fey? Is (Palin) going to be bad, is she going to be good? This is actual drama. It kills me again that the United States manages once again to trump Canada in terms of the great political narratives,” McGrath added.

“I couldn’t write something as wacky as the Sarah Palin rise to power, and I’m looking forward to that debate on Thursday kind of like some people look forward to a cock fight or a dog fight.”

Indeed, a perverse curiosity seems to pervade much of the lead-up to the Palin showdown, in which the Republican Alaskan governor/hockey mom will spar with the more experienced democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden.

Many pundits predict a poor showing by Palin, who has been skewered on both sides of the political spectrum for her dubious grasp on the issues and was famously mocked in a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring look-alike comedienne Fey.

Still, there are some who suggest the bar has been lowered so much that Palin could do surprisingly well against Biden, who himself has been known to put his foot in his mouth when left to ramble. Alternatively, Biden could trounce Palin so decisively that he could come away looking like a bully, said McGrath.

CBC-TV anchor Peter Mansbridge noted that the U.S. debate will be the network’s biggest competition for viewers and joked about a touch of anxiety among CBC brass.

“We’re a public broadcaster so we’re not fixated on numbers, but they’re thinking of a split screen that night,” a jovial Mansbridge quipped recently while promoting CBC news coverage at the network’s fall launch.

“The (election) in the States is riveting, for all kinds of reasons. No matter who wins it’s going to be a historic outcome. This one (in Canada), not so riveting.”

But not everyone will be turned off by the homegrown debate, said political expert Henry Jacek, who nevertheless acknowledged that public interest in the Canadian election was likely lower this time around than the last race to the polls two years ago.

Jacek predicted more voters would be drawn to the Canadian debate, due to the simple fact that its outcome would affect their lives more directly than the U.S. debate.

The addition of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to the table could add an extra spark, while a recent surge in support for the NDP’s Jack Layton has increased the pressure on Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

“What is probably open at this point is who do (voters) want to support as an alternative to (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper, and that is really sort of the burning question in Canada today,” said Jacek, a McMaster University political scientist.

“For low-interest voters that haven’t made up their mind yet, I think they’re going to really want to look at the performance of Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton.”

The date for the Canadian debate was set by a consortium representing Canada’s largest English and French television networks: CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA.

Consortium spokesman Jason MacDonald said Oct. 1 and 2 were chosen for the French and English debates respectively, because the dates best accommodated the leaders’ schedules.

“It’s a relatively short campaign to begin with,” said MacDonald. “Once you’ve got (the debate date) set, it’s very difficult to change.”

The format will differ from previous leaders’ debates in significant ways, MacDonald said.

Due to the recent market meltdown, opening and closing statements have been eliminated to allow for more discussion on the economy, he said.

In another departure, the five candidates – rounded out by Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe – will be seated at a round table instead of a podium. The feisty May, known for an off-the-cuff demeanour, will be seated next to the staid Harper.

Despite the huge draw of the Palin-Biden faceoff, May urged Canadians to pay attention to their own election, calling it “simply the most important one in the history of our country.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate timing,” May said of the schedule.

“I’m hoping that people will decide to watch the Canadian debate live and check out YouTube later for whatever exciting moments there are between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.”

“I’ll do my very level best to make this entertaining and interesting so that Canadians will just say: `Don’t touch that dial.’ Stay tuned to your own election.”

Canada’s English-language debate, to be moderated by TVO host Steve Paikin, airs Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

The U.S. debate airs from 9 to 10.30 p.m. ET.

Source: The Canadian Press

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Duelling debates pose tough TV choice

When it comes to attracting voter attention, don’t underestimate the cringe factor.

The prospect of a spectacular crash-and-burn by U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Thursday’s televised debate is too good to resist for many Canadians, even though their own leaders will be vying for votes in a debate the same night, say observers.

The scheduling of Canada’s sole English-language leadership debate had political junkie Denis McGrath ranting over the “boneheaded” decision to pit it against the U.S. vice-presidential debate. Despite his ardent interest in Canadian politics, he declared would not be watching the Canadian tussle.

“There’s no way in hell I’m watching that thing,” said the Toronto-based McGrath, an American screenwriter with dual citizenship.

“Compared to the fake Tina Fey? Is (Palin) going to be bad, is she going to be good? This is actual drama. It kills me again that the United States manages once again to trump Canada in terms of the great political narratives,” McGrath added.

“I couldn’t write something as wacky as the Sarah Palin rise to power, and I’m looking forward to that debate on Thursday kind of like some people look forward to a cock fight or a dog fight.”

Indeed, a perverse curiosity seems to pervade much of the lead-up to the Palin showdown, in which the Republican Alaskan governor/hockey mom will spar with the more experienced democratic candidate, Senator Joe Biden.

Many pundits predict a poor showing by Palin, who has been skewered on both sides of the political spectrum for her dubious grasp on the issues and was famously mocked in a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring look-alike comedienne Fey.

Still, there are some who suggest the bar has been lowered so much that Palin could do surprisingly well against Biden, who himself has been known to put his foot in his mouth when left to ramble. Alternatively, Biden could trounce Palin so decisively that he could come away looking like a bully, said McGrath.

CBC-TV anchor Peter Mansbridge noted that the U.S. debate will be the network’s biggest competition for viewers and joked about a touch of anxiety among CBC brass.

“We’re a public broadcaster so we’re not fixated on numbers, but they’re thinking of a split screen that night,” a jovial Mansbridge quipped recently while promoting CBC news coverage at the network’s fall launch.

“The (election) in the States is riveting, for all kinds of reasons. No matter who wins it’s going to be a historic outcome. This one (in Canada), not so riveting.”

But not everyone will be turned off by the homegrown debate, said political expert Henry Jacek, who nevertheless acknowledged that public interest in the Canadian election was likely lower this time around than the last race to the polls two years ago.

Jacek predicted more voters would be drawn to the Canadian debate, due to the simple fact that its outcome would affect their lives more directly than the U.S. debate.

The addition of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to the table could add an extra spark, while a recent surge in support for the NDP’s Jack Layton has increased the pressure on Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.

“What is probably open at this point is who do (voters) want to support as an alternative to (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper, and that is really sort of the burning question in Canada today,” said Jacek, a McMaster University political scientist.

“For low-interest voters that haven’t made up their mind yet, I think they’re going to really want to look at the performance of Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton.”

The date for the Canadian debate was set by a consortium representing Canada’s largest English and French television networks: CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA.

Consortium spokesman Jason MacDonald said Oct. 1 and 2 were chosen for the French and English debates respectively, because the dates best accommodated the leaders’ schedules.

“It’s a relatively short campaign to begin with,” said MacDonald. “Once you’ve got (the debate date) set, it’s very difficult to change.”

The format will differ from previous leaders’ debates in significant ways, MacDonald said.

Due to the recent market meltdown, opening and closing statements have been eliminated to allow for more discussion on the economy, he said.

In another departure, the five candidates – rounded out by Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe – will be seated at a round table instead of a podium. The feisty May, known for an off-the-cuff demeanour, will be seated next to the staid Harper.

Despite the huge draw of the Palin-Biden faceoff, May urged Canadians to pay attention to their own election, calling it “simply the most important one in the history of our country.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate timing,” May said of the schedule.

“I’m hoping that people will decide to watch the Canadian debate live and check out YouTube later for whatever exciting moments there are between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.”

“I’ll do my very level best to make this entertaining and interesting so that Canadians will just say: `Don’t touch that dial.’ Stay tuned to your own election.”

Canada’s English-language debate, to be moderated by TVO host Steve Paikin, airs Thursday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

The U.S. debate airs from 9 to 10.30 p.m. ET.

Source: The Canadian Press

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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