For a person who loves to study crisis communications, a Presidential debate is like Christmas in July. You know something will be said to irritate the public and given the ease of spreading messages over social media, one can expect a good meme or two from it. Surely a comment or two would come up about someone’s facial expressions in front of the camera or tone in their response.
Just as anticipated, last night’s first Presidential debate with President Obama and Governor Romney delivered a few items that just had to be highlighted today.
First, let’s talk about Sesame Street. Are Sunny Days really going away? Was anyone expecting to hear PBS would be on the chopping block to reduce the budget if Governor Mitt Romney is elected?
“I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.” – Gov. Romney.
Within seconds Twitter and Facebook lit up with comments objecting to the statement and admittedly many were quite humorous. Thank goodness for the daylight and people who check facts. Unfortunately, the cut will only be $300 and $445 million dollars per Forbes magazine and would make for an interesting argument amongst economists on being a viable solution. However, for the true fans of the arts, children, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), this deduction would still ruffle the feathers of Sesame Street followers.
But enough about Big Bird and the cartoons. Let’s move on to the moderator who appeared to lose favor with viewers.
In debating, there are rules and order. Many viewers took to social media to discuss the lack of control and questions posed during the debate by Jim Lehrer from PBS. Per the Washington Post:
“The tough assessments crossed party lines: Republican commentator Laura Ingraham wrote on Twitter that Lehrer seemed “a bit overwhelmed.” Comic and Democratic activist Bill Maher bluntly tweeted that “Lehrer sucked.””
A search on Twitter will lead you to some additional sentiments. In following a few trending hashtags, #essencedebate being one, many implied CNN’s Roland Martin would have been a better moderator, while media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, Eric Deggans seemed to also weigh in on the missteps of Lehrer on Facebook, “Much as I respect Jim Lehrer, also hated stuff like Dodd/Frank and Simpson/Bowles weren’t explained to viewers who aren’t policy wonks.”
It can only be assumed that the next moderator, Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent at ABC News will be practicing for the October 11th debate along with Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan.
But at least Lehrer remained respectful and didn’t offend the President, unlike KitchenAid.
Now, truly this is the OMG moment of the night. One that people on both sides of the political spectrum found offensive. KitchenAid, oh KitchenAid, what were you thinking?! At what point did this appear to be a joke for Twitter. Perhaps the social media personnel thought they were logged into their personal account? Since then an apology has been tweeted by a company official, but the reach of it and the crisis storm from it, will cause for a more formal statement to be made at some point in time.
Whew! You probably thought you would only have to worry about fighting with your friends on Facebook. Who’s ready for the next debate?
Please comment below if any other storms brewed last night during the debates.
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