The debate’s out-looking split-screen view divides us all.
Both vice-presidential candidates did OK in the debate, despite the occasional jumble of voices, intrusive comments and evasive replies. Each spoke their party’s perspective vigorously. Moderator Elaine Quifano prepared concise and probing questions, but Kaine and Pence mostly evaded them. She could have both woven them into the flow and controlled the men better, but all in all, she and they did OK.
What wasn’t OK was the insidious direction of camera angles, used so as to make the two men on the divided screen appear to be talking away from each other rather than with each other. Divided we flail. America, split down the middle and talking to the edges. The drama of divisive separation heightening extremes. Does the Commission on Presidential Debates want to divide our eyes and minds, or is it just stuffy or sloppy directing?
By putting Tim Kaine’s camera behind Quifano’s right shoulder, it got more of his face, but had the effect of him looking to our left. Had that camera been placed just behind her left shoulder we would have seen him looking to our right. Same for Mike Pence. He wasn’t looking away from the action or the moderator, but the insipid camera placement and split screen made him seem to. Not fair to either man or out view of the debate.
I’ve noticed this aggravating, alienating technique on previous debates. I wonder if the League of Women Voters, who used to manage the debates, would allow this annoying technique.
Those three participants had more centered interaction than this off-putting technique conveys. Does media hype the divide, declare solid reds and blues despite the rainbow mix we are, portray our coming apart, America flailing instead of meeting and mastering? Yes.