On Tuesday, Oct. 16, we'll be hosting a Presidential Debate Watch and Civil Dialogue in the First Amendment Forum (great name) at the Cronkite School on ASU's downtown campus. Check the calendar on this website for details. It should be an exciting evening. Will Romney be as assertive as he was in the first debate? Will Obama have more punch? How will they adapt to the town hall format? And what will be the hot topic for post-debate discussion? Join us to find out.
For the 1st Presidential Debate, we co-hosted an event on the ASU campus -- a live debate watch followed by a Civil Dialogue. It was well attended, maybe 100 people, and enthusiasm was high. We introduced a few ground rules about listening, etc., but we happened to have a feed from ABC-TV which included live tweets. The audience was captivated by the tweets, especially about Big Bird, and was laughing along. I felt like it debased a very important event, and I believe that focusing on the tweets made it difficult for people to focus on the substance of the debate. Indeed, the dialogue that followed was focused more on style than substance. Maybe that would have been the case anyway, because it is partially about style. (As Howard Dean says, if you want to know who is going to win, watch without sound.) So, am I grousing about nothing? Do I have to get used to this new world of split focus? Comments?