Sunday, October 5, 2008

Words from the local blogs

A major chapter in the 2008 election occurred Thursday with the vice-presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin. The debate, and the candidates, have sparked plenty of interest around several Boston blogs.

1. Boston Herald blogs: Boston Herald blogger Dave Wedge had an interesting point heading into the debates. As he wrote, the interest before, and heading into, the debate centered not just on who would be better, but who would be worse. Who would show their ineptitude more. Who would look more clueless on the national stage. There was plenty of skepticism floating around both of these candidates, whether it be based on Palin's perceived inexperience or Biden's statements that he might not even be the best man for the job. With that in mind, it can be easy to see why viewers were anticipating a meltdown on primetime TV.

2. WCVB TV: This site commented not on how the candidates looked, spoke, or presented themselves, but on what Biden and Palin said. In particular, it highlighted the factual missteps both took, from Palin criticizing Biden's voting record concerning taxes, to Biden's crying foul about McCain's plan to lower taxes on oil companies, and pointed out how they're wrong. While many viewers judge a debate on how the sides looked, it's important to look at the substance as well, which "The Boston Channel" did.

3. And just like there were sites pointing out the factual flaws for both candidates, there were some Boston blogs pointing out the mistakes for one side, as the Ace of Spades HQ did for Joe Biden. It goes to show that some Boston blogs are focusing on one candidate, while others (like the one in #2, above) weigh both sides to the showdown. Or maybe Joe Biden was just the only one who made a mistake.

4. Michael Paulson's "Articles of Faith" blog put the emphasis on, well, faith. As in how often it was mentioned during the debate, and as he wrote, it was mentioned notably not by quantity, but by quality. He argues that faith worked itself into several key topics that Biden and Palin debated on, including the conflict in Israel, Shia extremists and the religious question surrounding same-sex marriages. Paulson's point is interesting, and it seems fitting that we have a national debate containing religious issues after a presidency that was apparently arranged by the man upstairs.

5. This site provided interesting information about how big the debate was from a television angle. According to the blog article, the debate drew more than 70 million viewers, a larger figure than the turnout for the McCain-Obama clash from Sept. 26. There are many reasons there would be such an interest in the vice-presidential debate, one of which being Palin's recent unflattering involvement in news and culture, as the blog post said:
When John McCain and Barack Obama met in their first debate on Sept. 26, Nielsen recorded 52.4 million viewers. They will have two more debates, the first of them next Tuesday. Palin has been a television star since joining the GOP ticket a month ago. The curiosity factor undoubtedly brought in viewers this week after Palin raised doubts about her readiness for the job with some wobbly TV interviews.

The country's interest in the vice-presidential candidates has grown, but just showed by exactly how much it has.

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