There is an old joke which asks - how to tell if a politician is lying? The answer - if they are moving their lips.
When the perma-smug Paxman pressured Miliband over being a 'geek', and inferior to his brother, I wanted to hug the exacerbated oddball. Whether it was intentional or not, Paxman did Ed a huge favour in these final exchanges.
Like situation comedies, multi-candidate debates follow well-established contours. Each genre hinges upon a diverse cast
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The party leaders' TV debate is happening on Thursday night. And just looking at the poster is making us excited...
So after all the hype, the ads, the contorted build-up, the dozens of days of negotiations, the thousands of headlines, the millions of words of pre-match and post-match analysis, just over three million people bothered to tune in for the first 'big debate' agreed between the parties and the broadcasters. That is a shamingly low figure for all of us.
I suspect Thursday wasn't the best day of David Cameron's political life: first the Supreme Court ruled against him on his attempt to block publication of Prince Charles's private letters to government ministers (three cheers for the Supreme Court); then MPs voted against his attempt to change the rules to make it easier to get rid of the Speaker of the House of Commons (three cheers for independent-minded MPs). And then, after supper, Jeremy Paxman gave him a thorough, and distinctly uncomfortable, going over in the TV-debate-that-wasn't (three cheers for Jeremy Paxman). If Samantha was still up when he finally got home, she probably asked him if he's sure he wants the job for another five years.
I'm certain that the only factor in the prime minister's mind when he made this announcement was the issue of fairness - not the tactical consideration that the Greens might take votes from the prime minister's rivals, or the fact that incumbents rarely do well in debates, or that he didn't do fantastically in them last time. I also believe that the whole notion of TV debates during one of the most significant elections in years should indeed hinge on the inclusion of a party commanding less than 10% of the vote in nationwide polling.
American political advisers, especially ones with successful high profile campaigns under their belts, are not cheap, therefore, come the spring of 2015, even if any successes of Mr. Cameron or Mr. Miliband can attributable to Mr. Messina or Mr. Axelrod, respectively, such successes would have come with a big fat American price tag.
Ofcom stated that Ukip's electoral performance in the past two European Elections demonstrates that they represent a growing segment of public opinion and that ought to be reflected in their media coverage. The media's own watchdog are, though, modestly underplaying the role that the press can play in influencing public opinion and falsely creating a black and white split between television's role in "reflecting" and "influencing" public opinion.