Actual viewers have yet to weigh in about the PBS NewsHour’s live broadcast of a debate between Donald Trump and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton. But a number of academics and media experts observed how the Internet cast its eyes on Thursday’s face-off.
The most popular response came from viewers trying to calculate the number of people who were watching at the same time. Here’s a sampling of how some other users described the event:
Eric Q. West, associate professor of English at Wesleyan University: “I’m done tuning in on this stupid debate.
“All we’re saying is we’re watching while staring at our phones or programs on the TV because there’s no news in the debate. That’s literally it.
“Would viewers have tuned in if there wasn’t such a traditional line of advertising and sound bites from the candidates? Maybe a couple of West Wing spin doctors worth an hour of airtime would have helped.
“I say that having sat through many failed attempts at candidates who seek to articulate coherent policies.”
Michelle C. Domanico, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder: “A lot of people will say I shouldn’t support Trump. You don’t want to take for granted that you’re going to vote for him. That’s not a solution, it’s just going to make me angry.
“There’s something about dignity that we need to cherish and recognize.
Jane Hong, a doctoral candidate in political science at Columbia University: “This live debate — no one’s home. I’m looking at my phone to make sure there’s a real person on the stage. He’s calling her a liar. She’s calling him a bully.
“I wonder if voters can see themselves in these two candidates.”
David Gergen, a CNN analyst and co-author of “Mean County: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Loss of the Great Society”: “Hillary is making clear it’s an audition for 2020. Don’t know if Trump has the discipline or the temperament. Do not know whether Clinton is still a relative lightweight, with enough experience to be commander in chief, or too much knowledge and experience to be overwhelmed.”