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It's been about 24 hours since the 1st Presidential Debate of this 2012 campaign season and I need to vent, so bear with me.  We worry so much about 'low information' voters.  I think we need to spend more time worrying about how such an informed base can be so totally duped and manipulated.

I guess many people needed to rate it.  Critique it.  Declare a winner and loser. No doubt the traditional media needs to.

You know what November is?  Yes, it’s when the election will take place, but it’s also the network’s sweep period.  That’s the time when they whip out their best programming to lure the coveted 18-54 year old viewers to watch their channel because that’s also when the corporate advertisement deals are set.  They set the price based on viewership numbers – the ratings.  That rate is usually locked in until the next bidding season.  

Follow me down for more.

Now there may be some ad folk on DK who would know better than me, but typically these sweep periods for the traditional networks are September, November, February and May I think.  

What better way to kick off a November sweeps season than with a political cliff hanger?  You think this is madness?  Read on.

Mike Papantonio, host of ‘Ring of Fire’, sat in for Ed Schultz on his radio show yesterday, while the MSNBC team was in Colorado for the debates.  He said just hours before the debates kicked off that the media basically creates a phony narrative because more viewers are likely to stay tuned for a horserace than a blowout.

“Media all over the world readily admits the reality that our own national media will try to alter in these next few weeks. It is that Mitt is an arrogant buffoon with a deeply flawed character and that is why he is losing this race. But advertisers and media need a race – a close race equals money. More money equals bigger bonuses for the punk MBA number crunchers on the 50th floor who live or die according to what Nielsen tells them.”
Papantonio used a football analogy to break it down.  You are watching the Super Bowl and a wildcard team manages to win its way to the championship game against the top seeded, heavily favored team.  On paper, the match-up is not even close.  And then the game starts and after 2 quarters, it’s a total blow out.  Guess what happens?  People start to turn away from the game to watch or do other things.  Viewer drop off equals lower ratings and the next time the Super Bowl comes around, the corporate ad buyers may pay premium for the 1st quarter or so – not so much towards the end of the game.  Now generally the Super Bowl does very well for the networks and the NFL, but you get my drift.

Now we all know that the media in many quarters is suspect.  We complain about the Sunday Political Talking Shows, we villify Fox Cable News and many call CNN ‘Fox Lite’.  So why would it be out of the question for the MSM to bend the spoon a little to keep things interesting – even though we already know there is no spoon?

Papantonio warned listeners yesterday that the media was already staging this debate by lowering the expectations of Mitt Romney.  Heck, even Romney’s side was lowering the bar.  This is an age old trick in politics to make the actual outcome seem that much more greater than it is when they do okay.  

The media also built this debate up to be some ‘must see TV event’.  It was.  Some 50 million viewers tuned in to watch President Obama square off with Mr. Romney.  However, by all reasonable accounts, the debate was rather boring.

Not some great ‘must see TV’ event after all.

Well, if you have an incumbent President who is the top seed in the game against a wildcard who manages to worm his way to his party’s nomination – although a good third to half of the party doesn’t like him and didn’t want him – a man who has managed in five weeks to offend just about every American except the rich and perhaps conservative white males, then it’s not hard to understand why there is a potential landslide in the making.

Not great for ‘must see TV’.

The 4th quarter campaign fundraising figures came out today and the President raised a cool $150 million, on his way to becoming the first candidate who could wind up spending $1 billion bucks.  

And that’s just the President.  Add Romney’s side, Karl KKK Rove’s PAC, the Coke, I mean Koch Brothers’ and other rich, billionaire conservative money and there is a windfall to be had here.

And the traditional media wants IT ALL.

When the ‘so called’ intelligent, informed political base starts accepting the meme that Romney won, or did better than the President because he was able to lie with style, then something has gone wrong here.  When the traditional media, both electronic and print, declares Romney ‘the winner’ in one sentence, while listing out all of his lies in the second sentence, then it’s time to unplug from the Matrix and look at what is happening to us.

I’ve heard too many folk who did not watch the debate through the traditional media say that they were flabbergasted at the nuclear meltdown on MSNBC and supposedly, they are on ‘our side’?

We can project all we want onto the President.  We can be frustrated because he didn’t call out Romney on his lying.  As I have stated all day on DK, the White House strategy of attacking Romney on his bogus record went out of the window once Romney decided to become a chameleon –

There's a loving in your eyes all the way.
If I listened to your lies would you say
I'm a man (a man) without conviction,
I'm a man (a man) who doesn't know
How to sell (to sell) a contradiction.
You come and go, you come and go.

Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon,
You come and go, you come and go.
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams,
Red gold and green, red gold and green.

The White House will make adjustments, but don’t expect the bloodbath that the media was screaming for last night.  Journalism in this country is non-existent, but corporate greed is in play all day, every day, 24/7.  

I just don’t get why we informed people fall for this every time.

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