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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Saturday, October 02, 2004

    Broken rule made for better TV 

    Neither candidate looked at his watch or yawned, but we weren't supposed to see President Bush looking annoyed or John Kerry taking notes during Thursday's debate.

    According to the campaign managers' painstaking 32-page advance agreement, "When a candidate is speaking, either in answering a question or making his closing statement, TV coverage will be limited to the candidate speaking. There will be no TV cut-aways to any candidate who is not responding to a question while another candidate is answering a question."

    But TV networks ignored the rule, and we got a much better show for it. So what happened?

    "We were independent journalists covering the event," said Terry Murphy, the vice president of programming for C-SPAN, who pointed out that the networks weren't asked to sign the rules. "The memorandum of understanding was between the two campaigns. It wasn't between the campaigns and the media."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:13 PM



    This blog is compiled and edited by:

  • Ellen Dunkel, producer for Knight Ridder Digital's National Desk.
  • John Murrell, minister of information for SiliconValley.com.

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