Friday, 3 October 2008

It's The Live US Vice Presidential Debate Special!

(Keep checking for live updates, until we fall asleep.)

There's a sentence we never expected to be typing into the headline box. Will it be one of those live blogs we do that we give up on after fifteen minutes and duly delete? That has happened a few times. Given the fact we're not sure we can last until 4am, it's a distinct possibility. But then, the prospect of Sarah Palin or Joe Biden messing up live on air... mmm. For the former, pretty much anything could happen, given the way the Republican party have wrapped her in an interrogational bundle of cotton wool (ooh, an interview on Fox News? Hard hitting!). For the latter, it's going to be interesting seeing how one of the main weapons of American political debate, a weary "get a load of this chump!" patronising dismissal of whatever your opponent is saying, could actually work against Biden. The sexist bastard.

At the moment, our TV is tuned into CNN Worldwide and our PC is hooked up to the US version of Fox News. Top tip: If you've got access to TV streaming software, check out the US version of Fox News above the international variant running on Sky. With the US version you get to see all the campaign ads. But not so many campaign ads attacking John McCain. Hmm.

The pre-show sees CNN cramming as many commentators as possible around one desk, while Fox News have Bill O'Reilly talking down to a couple of women. It's as if he's pretending to be torn between his hatred of women and his hatred of lapel-flag-hating commie pinko Demmycrats. Not fooling anyone, Bill.


CNN are going to be treating this like a boxing match, with the live Like-o-meter that we've mentioned before now, along with LIVE PIE CHART ACTION, it seems. They're just pandering to us specifically now. This is quite alarming.


Can we go two hours without using the words "Dan Quayle With Tits"? Can Brit Hume last without berating the CBS-run debate as a liberal media showcase for Biden? How many pictures of the LIVE GRAPH on CNN will we include?


Time taken for Sarah Palin to mention the words 'parents' and 'fear': eleven seconds. Time taken for Joe Biden to make us question the wisdom of staying up this late: eleven seconds. By Jiminy, this is going to be close!


Sarah Palin's "darn right" count: One. This time about the nasty people who sold you a mortgage.

While the CNN EXCLUSIVE LIVE GRAPH was split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents last time, this time it's split between Men and Women voters, in Ohio, who have yet to commit to one candidate. But really, it's all about Men versus Women. Slightly surprisingly, a lot more women prefer whatever Joe Biden says than the men. When Sarah Palin is speaking, both genders are in agreement. This possibly means something.

Also, Fox aren't doing any live graphs at all. Their coverage is quite sober. There isn't even an American flag on screen. Come on Fox News, pander to our preconceived opinions about you, dammit!


Check this:

Sarah Palin speaks: The sexes align, pretty much in harmonious indifference.

Joe Biden speaks: The ladies go wild. And this is when he's talking about taxes.

This is possibly surprising a few people right now. Could it possibly be that the undecided women of Ohio are actually thinking for themselves instead of making a Pavlovian decision to go with the only sistah in the room? ZOMGWTF!!!


We've just zapped up a stream of the debate, and it has turned out to be from the US version of CNN. They don't get any graphs at all. They have messed up.



Here are the results of a quick flick through the news channels on Sky, to see who else is bothering with this debate.

Sky News: Yes (no graphs)
Bloomberg: Yes (no graphs, but a stock ticker as you might expect)
BBC News: Yes (no graphs, and a signed repeat of Country File is on BBC One)
CNBC: Yes (no idea on graphs, it's a pay channel)
Fox News: Yes (also a pay channel, which is largely the reason we're watching it on TVU Player)
CNN: Yes (with lovely graphs. The men seem to be enjoying Sarah Palin more than the women now)
S4C2: No.

We'll complete this in a bit. They're talking about gay couples now. What will this do to the graphs? (©D. Gorman)


Palin's voice is trembling a little as she hits her first difficult question, and is stating how tolerant she is about the gay issue. The graphblokes are getting excited, we can only assume because they're all picturing Sarah Palin kissing another woman right now. Tsk. Oh, and both VP candidates are against gay marriage. Well, at least they're saying they are, because they don't want to anger biblethumping voters.


The graphpeople get excited all of a sudden. It must mean they're talking about Iraq. And now Biden is speaking about war funding, the graphladies are right at the top of the positive end of the graph. Cripes.

Now Palin is talking about the war, and the women are distinctly unimpressed. The men are a little more in favour, but barely crossing the half-way line.


The realisation dawns that we're typing a live commentary, on the internet, about a sodding line graph. While we re-evaluate our entire outlook on life, we're going to take a look at the remainder of Sky news channels.

Euronews: Yes (with a very bland on-screen layout. Their new ident is a white circle. A white circle. Which team of creatives got paid to come up with that?)
CCTV-9: No. "Nature and Science" is on instead. Which is probably the Chinese version of Country File.
Russia Today: No. "Russia Today Documentaries" instead. We'd understand if it were a documentary on Tatu, but no. It seems to be a one hour programme on silt. We shit you not.
France24: Yes. (No graphs, but we've got our first CGI star spangled banner of the night! Well done, the French.)
Al Jazeera English: Yes. (Despite the EPG claiming "Listening Post" is on. No graphs, and not surprisingly, no star spangled banner here.)
QVC: No. (Their "Veronese Jewellery Collection" marathon continues unabated. What do you mean that was a stupidly obvious joke to add at the end?)

WHOA! Did Sarah Palin just say the word "noocular" instead of "nuclear"? She did! Her graph plummets!


It's quite uncanny. Every time Senator Biden takes the mic, the Ohio-undecided-female approval rating rises steadily, whilst the men don't seem to be fussed. As soon as the camera flits away from his Delaware-honed visage, the chart plummets to it's midpoint, like a spirit level being smashed into by a car, recorded on tape, then played back in 1x reverse. If he unfastened his tie a little, put on a pair of glasses, then peered over the top of them coquetteishly... the CNN opinion recording equipment might well exlode. Then, Sarah Palin would feel the need to redress the balance by taking off her glasses, freeing her rolling locks of raven hair so they cascade playfully over her Alaskan shoulders, then... is it too late to turn this blog into a Biden/Palin Slash Fiction hub?


John McCain "knows what evil is," we are informed by Mrs Palin. Mr Biden keeps saying he'll be happy to do whatever Barack Obama tells him to do. Both enjoy saying how much they'll be killing Osama bin Laden when they sweep into power. Our eyelids become too droopy to cope with this much longer, and are going to bed.

Note to selves: When we do our Live US Election Night Blog, get some sugar-free Red Bull in. 'Night all.

6 .:

No candidate shall be shot from behind (CAN WE CLEAR UP WHICH KIND OF SHOT? THANKS JEFF) said...

Bluff through with No graphs and printed in that stupid backwards way which means you have to start at the bottom otherwise it's someone becoming increasingly sober and grammatically accurate, but otherwise triff.

Mark X said...

That whole Jezebel blog does come across as rather confusing. Putting the intro at the top doesn't help - they should have taken a tip from The Guardian's sporting minute-by-minute reports, where the events are shifted into chronological order after the final whistle has gone. But yes, as you've said, triff.

No candidate shall be shot from behind (CAN WE CLEAR UP WHICH KIND OF SHOT? THANKS JEFF) said...

It's possibly confusing because Jezebel is part of a family of sites (Valleywag, Defamer, etc) which are all owned by the same company, all have exactly the same purpose (sarcastic wit about subject X) and all run on exactly the same template.

One side effect of this is that none of the sites has an About page explaining what their subject X is. It took me ages to realise that the only place they bother to mention what they cover is in the title bar of the main page and that at one point, horribly, I'd been reading a site about participants in sport -- it was quite impossible to tell from the stories themselves, which were largely about drunks falling over, names moving jobs, or other names selling generically titled companies for money. (The site was Deadspin, which I assumed was about PR or possibly newspapers. If there's a difference, ha ho etc.)

In fact, I've no idea what Jezebel is officially. Hang on. "Celebrity, Sex, Fashion For Women. Without Airbrushing." That'd make sense, because I loafed into it via one of those Photoshop Disasters posts about the life-defying anatomy of an actress publicised on the cover of a magazine; Jez had unearthed the original photo for purposes of comparison and sarcastic wit.

Anyway, you can see why the debate entries would have been backwards during posting, because compulsively-reloading readers would only have to glance at the top of the page, but you'd think they might bother to fix it when finished and sober once more (as, a-ha, your sports example does, which obviously I have never seen because it is sports). I am writing to my vice-president.

Mark X said...

Meanwhile, the usually fantastic Cracked did what they could:

I do hope Sarah Palin realises how in failing to do anything utterly demented during the VP debate, she has deprived the people of the internet a whole collective noun of easy, yet worthwhile, laughs. For shame.

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