Backrubbing; Jim Lehrer Gets Tough
I think the networks usually skip the backrubbing that goes on before a debate, so I've never seen it before. On one hand it's deadly boring, on the other hand its fascinating. Apparently it costs around $750,000 to sponsor such a debate. It was sponsored by a Florida Indian Tribe whose name I didn't catch. The debates are also sponsored by corporations and major nonprorits like AARP and American Airlines. Given the amount of effort and resources that have been exerted to make these debates happen, one would hope that their consumers (the American people) would pay careful attention.
Lehrer just carefully explained to the audience the rules of when he's going to talk and how they have to be very silent ("Bear very silent witness"--sounds like a crime is going to be committed, says a friend) and has appointed the first lady and Theresa Heinz Kerry as hall monitors to take names of people violating his rules. The camera swung around to the anchors getting ready in their booths, while on their own channels commericals are still going on. But the real deal is on C-SPAN. He's just rehearsed the buzzer for the audience, "Hey hear that? That's power!" and then "Tell me how much time before we go on the air please. Hello? Oh, it's not working."