Where’s the Aloha spirit?

That was my question after the Hawaii News Now/Honolulu Star-Advertiser televised debate Monday night. I’ve seen political debates across the country for three decades, and I can’t recall one where the audience played such a disruptive role.

Usually, these events have a great deal of dignity. The audience is told, before the candidates come onto the stage, that they should cheer at the start and then hold their reaction until the very end. Well, I wasn’t in the Blaisdell hall where the debate took place Monday night, but you could tell by the way both candidates appeared to get frustrated trying to get their message across that the audience was getting in the way.

Their boos and cheers just cut into the time we could have spent listening to the candidates.

There’s no reason for that. And I hope a lesson is learned for the future. The audience didn’t show the candidates or the public watching the respect they deserved.

In the future, I hope local TV stations do a better job of managing the live audience.

A few quick other thoughts on the debate:

  • Great job having the candidates each ask each other three questions. Those were the most revealing moments of the debate.
  • What’s up with the Star-Advertiser? It streamed the event live on its website, but if you went to the site an hour after the debate ended, as I did, you found a story posted at 2:30 p.m. that began this way: “Democratic gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann will face off tonight in a live debate.”
  • As for Hawaii News Now, it didn’t do any better when it came to a story about its own event on its website.

What’s up with that?

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