A reader asked recently why I haven't blogged about the presidential debates.
One reason is that they don't matter very much at this point, so I have a hard time forcing myself to sit through them.
In general, though, I frequently don't have anything interesting or new to say about debates, which are over-analyzed to the point of absurdity. There's usually not a lot of substance to discuss, so you end up offering McLaughlin Group-level observations about who "won," the way the candidates looked, the supposedly important "moments" of the night, or the implications of the debate for the horse race.
I have those (not particularly profound) thoughts just like anyone else, but why share them? You can already get similar stuff here and here and here and on cable news (among many other places). Blogging should be more than amateur hour for aspiring pundits.
Update 6/4 9:19 AM: I'm briefly cited at the end of a Newsday (NY) story on debate "spin rooms":
Brendan Nyhan, a Duke University doctoral candidate and author of the bestselling book "All the President's Spin," said spin rooms gained prominence with the emergence of cable news networks.
Political consultants who before could hope to perhaps influence a handful of morning newspapers or place a sound bite in the next day's evening newscasts, now see their views aired instantly and echoed repeatedly, as cable networks seek content to fill non-stop news cycles.
Update 6/4 12:04 PM: Matthew Yglesias illustrates my point:
I'm trying to think of something interesting to say about the debate that doesn't involve going meta or just doing amateur theater criticism, but I've really got nothing. Instead, a question: Did anyone out there in blog-land find this to be a helpful exercise? Like is there someone out there who wasn't sure who they were going to vote for pre-debate who's now more firmly in someone's corner? Someone out there who was strongly leaning in one direction and is now back to undecided status? Not me.
My read of what I see in these debates is so heavily colored by ex ante beliefs and information that it's hard for the debate to change anything.