TV Shows Weakness in Presidential Debate

I watched the presidential debate last night and grew frustrated as both candidates continually went over their time limits.  Tom Brokaw was frustrated, too.

But as we neared the end of the debate, I realized exceeding the time limit was not the fault of either candidate.  The problem was the time limit itself.  Granted, we need brevity but to answer your opponent in one minute is totally unrealistic.  We ask for substance in answers.  At the same time the candidate must sum it up in 60 seconds.

No way.


Fewer questions.

No rebuttals.

Longer debate.

Eliminate  body language, facial expression, and tone of delivery and you are left with words which are assembled to deliver a thought.  Doing that, as we saw last night, is nearly impossible.  The Web has shown us that we don’t need to be constricted by 20th century clumps of time such as 30 seconds, 60 seconds, etc.

Couldn’t answers be expanded to 2 minutes and 35 or 40 seconds, and rebuttals opened to 1 minute 45 seconds?  I’m just tossing out random examples to show that 20th century media needs to experiment and update itself to meet 21st century needs.

There must be some study that shows a minimum time to deliver a substantive thought.

We complain that TV and radio have reduced everything to sound bites and that’s what was done to the candidates.  They were not well served by the time restriction, and therefore, neither were we.


3 responses to “TV Shows Weakness in Presidential Debate

  1. I completely agree with you, it is very unrealistic to give an answer with substance within a minute. Also if givin more time I feel that that both candidate would have been almost forced to address the questions more directly. I personally feel that the debate was a waste of time, as both candidates seemed to dance around almost every question.

  2. Yeah, I absolutely agree with what you’ve said. Is this how the debates were ran back in the days when Abraham Lincoln debated with Douglas? Unlikely, people don’t tune in to hear soundbites.

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