Adventures in Television Land

Welcome back!
Another crazy week or two has gone by and there's much to catch up on.
Adventures in Television Land
First, file this under 'be ready for anything when it comes to Television Land'. Laura and I were in Toronto yesterday doing a seminar when the call came to appear on CTV's Power Play with Don Martin to discuss the Conservative government's relations with the media. A one hour drive across rush hour traffic later, we arrived at CTV Toronto to do a double-ender interview with Don Martin who was in the foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa. So far, so good. We arrive a whole 15 minutes prior to my 5:28 scheduled airtime and was whisked into makeup right away (desperately needed and cheaper than surgery!). Then I wait in the green room for the call to go in. I start looking at my watch and it's already 5:27!! The able young producer pops in and asks me to follow him into the CTV newsroom/set and up a winding stairway we go to the mezzanine overlooking the news room, facing what the sign says is the "Mezz Cam". I am being fitted up by the camera man - with earpiece and microphone. So far so good. Although as soon as the earpiece is in I can hear that the interview is already underway with Don Martin and the Vice President of the Press Gallery, Malorie Beauchemin!

Stifling a mild sense of panic, I join the interview in progress, just as Don Martin asks me the question. Anyway the interview went off without a hitch, but see if you can detect if any of this was going on. A few hints ...my hair over my ear sticking out; Don's intro mentions that I am a guest in the segment but I don't actually come in until later..... That's live TV folks!
Live from the CTV Mezz Cam

Meanwhile...Anthony Weiner always tell the truth......eventually!

Anthony Weiner....'please leave, and don't let the door hit you on the way out of sex rehab'. Your President has broadly hinted that you should  leave... your leader, Nancy Pelosi, has said 'resign'. You didn't just humiliate your wife, you embarrassed your own Party - and, - the ultimate political sin - the public is not listening to your party while the media are stuck on this pathetic little story.

So here is the secret - one more time - for dealing with such 'scandals'. Own up right, away, apologize and take appropriate action (in this case it's resign.) Not too difficult but for some reason people like Mr. Weiner need to keep learning it - over and over again.

The Republican Debate on Radio
Listening to the Republican New Hampshire debate on the car radio was an experience which hearkens back to another era in political debate - the Kennedy/Nixon debates when a significant percentage of people listened to it on radio - and actually thought that Nixon had won. I found it a very different experience from television. Listening more closely to what is said - rather than how they look when they are saying it, for one. Also, as radio is a more active engagement than the passive medium of television, it forces the listener to engage the candidates more. The conventional wisdom was that the three winners were Mitt Romney, Michele Bachman and (surprise! Newt Gingrich). Although CNN's John King did a solid job of keeping them on track, it was a tad annoying to hear him continually say, "Mr. Speaker". I know it's protocol but it's a bit much after all this time and on radio, one is left wondering 'who?' each time he said it.

Romney was strong and unshakeable - and his experience clearly showed. He didn't get ruffled and at least, sounded Presidential. Although one thing he said which didn't get much comment was that - unlike President Obama - he wouldn't have bailed out the big three automakers, he would have let them go bankrupt. In a real debate (and not just a series of 30 second speeches) the follow-up question would be, "so you would let the supplier companies take the hit, with laid-off workers and possibly more bankruptcies - rather than, say, a loan guarantee?" He'll need to think that one through.

Michele Bachman gained the most - announcing her formal candidacy on air; connecting with her Tea Party base; eroding the potential impact of a possible entry by Sarah Palin and outshining Herman Cain, who had been generating a lot of buzz prior to the debate. The miracle of Gingrich was that he seemed coherent  at all...given the exit of his entire staff, and his gaffe-strewn campaign-to-date.

Former Minnesota  Gov. Tim Pawlenty was expected to do better than he did - especially as the alternative to Mitt Romney, but he ducked noticeably when he refused to repeat his 'Obamneycare' line which he had previously used. [Probably wise, but it contributed to a perception of lack of courage - awkward, considering his book is titled, "Courage to Stand"!]

There was certainly no Ronald Reagan defining moment of his 1980 New Hampshire debate against George Bush when Reagan refused to give over the microphone and said, "I am paying for this microphone!"[Reagan later would say that he felt that moment catapulted him into the nomination and, ultimately, the Presidency.] I was left with the feeling that in their zest to capture the Tea Party base, they were sowing the seeds for a general election drubbing at the hands of Obama.

Anyway, debate season is always fun - no matter where one stands politically. Almost on a par with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Go Canucks!

Until next time....

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