This is getting really sad.
As a millennial living with his fiancé and two adorable cats in an overpriced apartment, I’m living the college dream. One of the things that’s becoming more and more of a staple is that people my age don’t tend to have the things we had as children; specifically a landline telephone or cable TV. Why would you need cable when there’s hundreds of binge-worthy hours of TV for cheap on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon? The answer is, you don’t.
Cable is expensive. All of those other services are around $10 per month, a pretty easy cost to pay out for everything they offer. They add new things all the time, and what’s more, now they create their own content, at a higher quality than what’s on TV. It’s less of a premium service now as it is an obvious service. The old business model is starting to take on water.
Since I don’t have cable, I didn’t get to see much of the Democratic Town Hall tonight. But from what little I did see, I’m starting to notice a trend between all of these numerous debates on both sides of the race.
It’s like watching an episode of “The Real Housewives of…”
Some might say, “there’s a lot of infighting between the candidate this year.” I could agree with that, but only because the moderators are fueling the fire. And even more interesting, it’s a controlled burn.
It works like this. Republicans tend to be the ones who own these cable companies and channels that host the debates. When the Republicans have the floor, or one of their debates is on the air, there always seems to be a lot of drama, and not a lot of policy. Will Trump actually show up or will he and Carson boycott another event? Will there be complaining about who is moderating the debate and are they at risk of backlash from the party? What is this candidate going to say about the tweet someone else posted about them? There’s a lot of “candidate X said this about you. How would you respond to that?” Since they’re on the spot, it’s a line of questioning that inevitably leads a candidate to say something offensive to another in order to appear tough, which results in them trying to angrily (yet calmly) try to talk over the other one. It is as close to a fist fight they can have on television between who we might like to say as the leader of the United States. At one point, perhaps it would have been good TV, but the more it happens, the more I feel like it’s all being staged to make it seem like good TV.
Ever since the issue of moderators being axed from the debates, there’s a question about what hosts are allowed to say and ask from the candidates. I mean, they’re jobs are on the line, right? Actually, they really are, but because of that, we lose journalistic integrity. No one asks how people plan to pay for anything or how they plan to enact the policies they propose. Policy isn’t sexy, so it doesn’t make the ratings go up. No one wants to hear Trump explain imminent domain, but people will line up to hear him talk shit about Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. There’s plenty of evidence in the last debate. A majority of the time was spent asking about Ted Cruz singing to his wife and what Ben Carson likes to do to relax. Stuff that’s obviously imperative for operating one of the most powerful countries on the planet.
And what about the Democrats.
As it turns out, Progressives don’t really own any of the networks the debates take place on, the moderators don’t really have to worry about losing their jobs. If people don’t mind getting a little conspiratorial with me, I would submit that perhaps the higher ups are telling the moderators to save their tough questions for the democrats. Why would they do that? Because Senator Sanders and Clinton don’t really take potshots at one another.
It’s something we’ve seen in most of the debates they’ve shared together. They commend each other on what they agree on and acknowledge the work of the other. It’s the polite thing to do and it shows they’re able to see both sides of an issue and find some common ground. Excellent qualities for a leader, but crappy qualities for a reality TV star. See where I’m going with this?
What the two of them will argue about is policy, so that’s when the big questions come out. How will they dismantle Citizens United? How will they accept incoming refugees even if some of them may have ISIS affiliations? These are difficult questions for even the most practiced politicians, and they’re all laid at the feet of the Democrats. Do you know who doesn’t have to answer those questions? Exactly, which is why no one really knows what the Republicans plan to do once in office or how they plan to do it. We only know that they don’t really care for one another and that the louder you say something racist, the better your poll numbers will be in the next state.
And the sheer number of the debates is starting to become an issue, at least for me. We keep covering every little bit they say, which I understand is important for an election. I was voting age when Obama was running both times, but I never remembered their being this many debates. Why? Because Cable wasn’t doing as bad in the early 2000s. But by the time we made it to this cycle, Netflix and other streaming services are beginning to establish dominance in the entertainment industry. And networks have learned they can monetize a debate the same way you can make money from a prize fight. You just have to make sure that something interesting happens each time, and have enough of them where they can keep the lights on.
Cable TV is dying. Remember that the next time you see Anderson Cooper ask someone what their favorite musical is.