News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

No screaming allowed from tv studio audience at Republican primary debate in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 2012. Audience told to remain silent. Debate audiences had cheered wildly for Gingrich in South Carolina. Nat. Journal: Gingrich can't win without crowd 'egging him on'-NY Times, Jan. 2012

1/23/2012, "9:47pm: Caucus Click: A Silent Crowd," NY Times Caucus blogs, Tampa, Fla.

1/23/2012, image caption: "The crowd was asked to refrain from cheering and shouting during the debate." Chip Litherland for The New York Times. Tampa, Florida


10:04pm, 1/23/2012: NBC GOP debate moderator, Brian Williams, before TV cameras came on, told audience members to refrain from applause during the debate except when cameras were away for commercials:
Jan. 23, 2012, "Tampa's Subdued Audience," NY Times, Michael D. Shear, Tampa, Fla.

"The audience here has been exceptionally quiet. That may reflect the admonition that the moderator, Brian Williams, gave the audience members before the TV cameras came on, urging them to refrain from applause during the debate.

Or it may reflect a more academic audience, as the debate is being held at the University of South Florida. It might also have something to do with the fact that this is the first debate in a while that is not sponsored by a state Republican Party.

Or maybe it reflects the fact that Mr. Gingrich has been on the defense, not able to get to his usual rhetoric about criticizing the media -- which usually fires up the audience.

Either way, it's been a very quiet, polite night in the hall."


9:57pm, 1/23/2012, Quiet GOP Tampa Debate compared to South Carolina debates:

"Lack of a big crowd reaction compared to SC debates makes #fldebate feel less of a prize fight than it has been. @dickstevenson on Twitter" Richard W. Stevenson 


Jan. 24, 2012, "Gingrich Threatens to Skip Debates if Audiences Can’t Participate," NY Times Caucus Blogs, Jeremy W. Peters 

"Newt Gingrich insists his fans will not be silenced. Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, on Tuesday morning threatened not participate in any future debates with audiences that have been instructed to be silent. 

That was the case on Monday, when Brian Williams of NBC News asked the audience of about 500 people who assembled for a debate in Tampa to hold their applause until the commercial breaks.

In an interview with the morning show “Fox and Friends,” Mr. Gingrich said NBC’s rules amounted to stifling free speech. In what has become a standard line of attack for his anti-establishment campaign, Mr. Gingrich blamed the media for trying to silence a dissenting point of view. 

“I wish in retrospect I’d protested when Brian Williams took them out of it because I think it’s wrong,” Mr. Gingrich said. “And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.” 

Mr. Gingrich soared to victory in the South Carolina last week after back-to-back debates in which he took on the moderators with as much zeal as he took on his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. The audiences, which were far larger and encouraged to participate, cheered him on as he pushed back. First he lashed out at Juan Williams of Fox News for suggesting that Mr. Gingrich’s comments about blacks and welfare were offensive. Then he snapped at John King of CNN for opening the debate with a question about accusations that he had asked an ex-wife for an “open marriage.” 

Mr. Gingrich’s performance in the debate in Tampa on Monday night was far more muted. Critics noted that he seemed to be off his game. The National Journal, which co-hosted the NBC debate, compared Gingrich to “a stand-up comedian whose routine suffers without echoes of laughter egging him on. 

Mr. Gingrich clearly noticed something was off, too. “We’re going to serve notice on future debates,” he told Fox. “We’re just not going to allow that to happen. That’s wrong. The media doesn’t control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to.”

Applause and lively audience participation have been a part of most debates this primary season, though some moderators have been more permissive of it than others. Scott Pelley of CBS News scolded a South Carolina audience for booing during a debate in November. “We will have respect for everyone on stage,” he told them.

At debates during the general election, which are governed by rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the audience is told to remain silent. “No cheers, no applause, no noise of any kind,” as Jim Lehrer reminded them in 2008.

CNN, which has encouraged its audiences to be engaged but not disrespectful, will host the next debate on Thursday in Jacksonville under rules that Mr. Gingrich is likely to find more to his liking."


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