So we’ve finally seen the two candidates on the same stage at the same time – how did they get on?

It’s quite simple…Trump got in some shots and had his opponent under pressure in the early stages but Hillary came storming back, easily got under his skin and forced him into some ramblings which I doubt even he could translate into understandable English now.

But amid all the rhetoric and back-and-forth on tax returns, emails, calling women Miss Piggy and bringing up Bill’s affairs by saying you won’t bring them up, was there much actual talk about, oh I don’t know, what they’d do as President?

Sure, there was a bit about jobs, a bit about trade and a bit about secret plans to beat ISIS, but even then it was more about how bad the opponent was rather than what each candidate would do themselves.

Yet the American mainstream media lapped up the verbal mud wrestling and proceeded to make the focus of the post-game all about “who won”.

Thankfully we have the good folks at FAIR.org to give an alternative take in their piece “Lester Holt Asks Zero Questions About Poverty, Abortion, Climate Change” by Adam Johnson.

A week before the debate,Comcast-owned NBC announced the topics, and one could already tell we weren’t going to be in for a substantive evening: “Achieving prosperity,” “America’s direction” and “securing America.” This generic approach lead to a generic debate that focused mostly on horserace disputes and vague, open-ended questions about taxes and jobs.

What I find amusing is how Americans can be so bent out of shape about their media making it all about personalities when they have over 300 millions people, just two main parties (well actually there’s four but they keep the Greens and Libertarians away from these debates), and election campaigns that last well over a year.

Here in Ireland, with a humble 5 million people, we have an ever-growing amount of political parties and campaigns squeezed into just under a month, so while the “Yanks” have plenty of time to talk about issues and seem to choose not to, here our media has so little time all they get to focus on is what would the inevitable coalition look like after the unnecessarily over-complicated voting process is done.

Democratically held elections for government should be about issues not egos, but as a general public we seem content to have them portrayed like “reality” TV shows.

 

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