Hey kids, let’s put on a show! The 132 Debate
I am not sure the Yosoy132 debate will have the impact, even among those looking for a political change, the organizers hoped.
I was unable to bring the site up under any of the on-line sites listed on the poster I reproduced earlier today, and — being at our shop at the time — was only able to catch the very end of the two hour debate when I found it on SDPNoticias (a pro-Lopez Obradór news site).
I was not the only one who had trouble logging in: comments on the SDPNoticias site, with time stamps from the scheduled start of the debate (8 PM Mexico City time) up through the first hour were mostly of the “Where is the video?” or listing other possible alternative site… or suggesting people listen to the debate on the radio (on Mexico City stations, which wasn’t much good to those of us out in the hinterlands).
A common theme in the SDPNoticias comments was the suspicion that there was some sort of collusion in keeping the livestream off the internet… something that crossed my mind. A commentator using the name “JuanCarlos” suggest that it naivety and a certain amount of elitism on the part of the organizers undercut the webcast’s effectiveness. At the last minute, several television networks (including Televisa) petitioned to broadcast the debate, but were turned down by “yosoy#132″ on the grounds that the group didn’t want to favor any particular television network, and besides, was already committed to distribution via Google.
While this made some sense in that the perception of political manipulation by the television networks was the single biggest issue in launching “yosoy#132″, I’m probably not the only one noting the irony in that Google is just another media corporation… and a foreign-controlled one at that.
Elitism , on the part of the organizers, is perhaps unintentional, but as “JuanCarlos” wrote:
…[they] did not want to not favor any [of the media companies] … but they also disfavor he thousands of Mexicans who want to see and hear this discussion and do not have internet access: remember that we are considered a privileged group. And the others? Don’t they want to be heard from? So why the nonsense about Internet transmission?
Be that as it may, the entire debate was posted on youtube within minutes of its completion (much too large a file to repost on this site): #Debate132 here. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be rebroadcast on the medium where most Mexicans get their news: television (or, if broadcast, only in”soundbites” meant to bolster whatever some talking head is trying to spin).
As to the actual debate… cutting back and forth between student questioners and the candidates via webcam was gimmicky (and kinda elitist) and didn’t work very well. I realize the event was meant to be unrehearsed, but the technical issues could have been worked out ahead of time. The candidates themselves, undoubtedly rehearsed, mostly giving their predictable answers to the questions. The questions and responses will, undoubtedly, be fodder for the talking heads and news columnists for the next few days (which is the point of the exercise), so I won’t concentrate on them here. As to style, none of the candidates seemed to stick to the clock (nor did the moderator try to hold them to their allotted response time) though Quadri appeared to have mastered the format. Even when talking nonsense, he’s able to rattle off a seemingly complete answer timed almost to the second in this sort of format. However, he talks so fast, he’s hard to follow. Vasquez Mota doesn’t always seem to catch the question, but as a professional pol, she knows how to speak to a camera. Surprisingly, Lopez Obardór — considered a master at dominating media events (as “mayor” of Mexico City, his daily 6 A.M. press conferences were legendary) and with a campaign that has been at the forefront of exploiting new media — just doesn’t come across as very impressive in this kind of event. He speaks slowly, with numerous pauses. On the other hand, it forces you to listen to what he has said, and saying less, maybe he’s going for sound-bites.
But judge for yourself. Much too long (just shy of two hours) to post on MexFiles, the “peoples’ debate” — warts and all — is something new and different, and well worth the investment in your time.