I've been avoiding the news lately because it's more appalling than usual, almost painful to read, but after last night's debate, I wanted to catch up on the commentary. Sadly, even though it would be possible to say without bias that Bush behaved like a sullen teenager whose Ritalin wore off early, most journalists tried very hard to be balanced and kind. I did find one gem in a NYT article that pretty much has nothing to do with the debate itself. But it appealed to me in a meta-meta-meta-news kind of way...
Before and during the presidential debate raged a debate about the debate, as members of the throng advanced clever arguments about what the candidates needed to do. Respectable types took to the airwaves to argue that the preoccupation with this parallel discussion was a diversion from matters of more moment. They were having a debate about the debate about the debate.
Mr. Bush's aides argued that the debate was make-or-break for Mr. Kerry, and that he had to do more than merely win. "The instant polls could say Kerry won the debate, but unless he has a connection at the visceral level it does not matter," said Matthew Dowd, a top strategist for Mr. Bush.
Told of the Bush claims, Joel Johnson, a top aide to Mr. Kerry, responded, "If they're saying we absolutely have to win, that means we don't have to win, to win."
I love spun meta-news. It takes journalism into dimensional regimes physicists and philosophers can only dream of.