Written by Ernest Britt, T’16
See original blog post here.
DURHAM, NC – “Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders. Face to Face. O’Malley-Webb-Chaffee. On the same stage, for the first time,” the debate-promo-turned-movie-trailer shouted. And in that moment, with dramatic war drums beating and black-and-white photos of the first-named frontrunners poised on opposite sides of my screen as if ready to pounce, I knew the first Democratic debate would be largely unremarkable.
With no Trump to boost viewership and/or to insult everyone on stage, CNN was left to manufacture excitement to grab the viewer’s wandering eye. By leaving an extra podium in the wings, the network played into Joe Biden’s “will he or won’t he” narrative and implied that maybe the vice president would make a decision in time to participate. Unfortunately for CNN’s ratings (but perhaps fortunately for the other candidates), Biden did not make an appearance.