I had to work last night but luckily I'm a bartender and have a couple of television sets at my disposal. I was surprised a few people requested that I turn up the volume so we could listen to the speeches. I decided to flip the channel from the cable news channel to cspan. Several of the customers asked me why. I replied
"Because I'd like to process what is said in the speech without someone telling me what I'm supposed to think of it".
One Republican customer commented,
"Wow, I never really thought about it that way."
So began my experiment..
Follow me below the fold for results.
I decided that after the conclusion of the speeches we would flip over to the cable news punditry and see if we could predict what we would hear.
I was pleasantly surprised that several of my conservative customers seemed enthralled by the parade of military people that cspan presented last night. We had MSNBC on the other television and they never showed any of that. One customer quipped
"I wonder why they aren't showing any of these people, their stories are important"?
I explained in non-inflammatory terms that it didn't fit into the narrative they wanted to push, the narrative that Democrats don't care about soldiers.
As the evening progressed, my customers who normally would have paid their tab and gone home by now, continued watching and commenting. They really seemed to enjoy Bill's speech but Biden seemed to seal the deal for a few. They didn't realize all the trials and tribulations the man had perservered through and they appeared to be genuinely impressed. While not agreeing with all of the Democratic platform ,several stated they were seriously thinking of voting for Obama and one said he was sold.
After the convention closed one of my Republican customers asked me to turn on Fox. I asked him what he thought they'd be saying and he replied
I agreed with him and we flipped the tv to Fox. We were not disappointed..We were treated to the talking heads bloviating about "mediocre" "uninspiring" "more of the same" etc.
My customer looked at me and said:
"I really didn't think the bias would be THAT obvious! I think I'll be watching tomorrow night on cspan again!"
Just for balance we flipped to MSNBC and he was even more surprised to find a few of the talking heads looking for things to pick apart as well, although the bias was not nearly as obvious as was Fox's.
I also had a customer show up late who I had told the day before to turn off the pundits and watch cspan, he thanked me profusely and said he was telling all his friends to watch cspan for convention coverage. All in all the night was a success. I planted the seed for these people to sow and I think a few of them will.
YES! WE CAN!
All in all the experience was a good one. It's not a great idea to talk politics in a bar but I knew these people and we had a good time and lively conversation.