Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Pundits coming soon

Hey guys, i know activity on the APF front has seemingly slowed down. I assure you there are a lot of people scurrying behind the scenes.

Expect updates on the myspace front and look for new animations coming soon. The new pundits are warming up backstage.
Wait for the theme music to hit and prepare to blow your minds.

In the meanwhile here's a teaser:
new pundits cartoon caricature art

Monday, May 21, 2007

The art of "Selling" - Christopher Hitchens with Ralph Reed on 'Hannity and Colmes'

In wrestling, hitting people is only half of what it takes to be a great performer. Just as important is the art of being hit, known as 'Selling'. To create a compelling match there needs to be an effective give and take in order to have the necessary tension to keep the audience engaged. It's a dance.

An exciting wrestling match needs to tell a story. In order for the story to be told wrestlers need to show moments of strength and moments of vulnerability. A good performer 'sells' the moves of his opponent by acting appropriately when he is being hit. When a wrestler writhes in pain or clutches his damaged leg, it brings the crowd closer as they root for the dominating wrestler or spur on the underdog. It sets the table for further drama as the match see-saws back and forth.

I bring this up because pundit Christopher Hitchens was engaged in an interesting debate about the passing of influential religious/political leader Jerry Falwell. Hitchens was in exciting form in a fatal Four way match with Ralph Reed (best known for his work with the Christian Coalition), Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes. By exciting, I mean he was his usual curmudgeonly self. At one point late in the debate he heckled Ralph Reed as if he was a muzzled audience member rather than someone who shared and already dominated the stage.

Sean Hannity acted as a good foil to Hitchens, valiantly trying to regain control of the debate. Scintillating!

VIDEO: Christopher Hitchens in Fatal Four way action on Hannity and Colmes

Hitchens is a great example of someone who does not sell an opponent's moves. He diffuses any connecting zinger from his adversary with a commanding "WELL EXCUSE ME BUT..." and is known for hectoring audience members who applaud against him.

Watch Hitchens "no-selling" in a spirited debate with Jon Stewart.
VIDEO: August 25, 2005: Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c

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Listen to Hitchens in friendly territory, doing his weekly chat with Hugh Hewitt.

I looked through Hugh Hewitt's recent archive and it seems that Hitchens hasn't been on the show since his diatribe against the recently departed Jerry Falwell. As mentioned, Christopher appears weekly on Hugh's show and they are cordial with each other.
Looking through Hugh's blog, I didn't find any acknowledgement of Hitchen's remarks nor a mention of Jerry Falwell's passing. On air however while chatting with evangelical figurehead James Dobson, Hugh did have a soft rebuke of Hitchens and expressed admiration for Falwell.

Listen to the Hugh's conversation with James Dobson.
You'll notice in the interview, Hugh doesn't mention his close assosciation with Hitchens or how regularly he appears on his show etc...

In late breaking news, Hugh finally mentions Hitchens. Read here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

APF support is growing!

A reader has kindly emailed me to show some of the work he's doing to promote the APF. He and his friends have been putting up flags around town (see below). He assures me that he is not polluting the landscape, I would not endorse this action otherwise. It's as simple as a little blu tac, paper, tape and a toothpick

He used the images I uploaded in a former 'Resources' post.
If you want to access the Pundit Fight images, click here.
It's a nice idea and i'll be making my own for others to upload.
Look for them soon.

Bill Maher flag pundit
'American Pundit Fighting' flag (Bill Maher)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fight Night: Rocky VS Hannity - Utah Mayor Rocky Anderson debates Sean Hannity

In a previous post I spoke about Aura. Recently one pundit enhanced his Aura immensely by making good on his challenge. On May the 4th in front of an audience of 2000 people APF Pundit Sean Hannity squared off with Rocky Anderson, the progressive Mayor of Utah.
Rocky Debates Talk Show Host Hannity
Tickets to Friday's debate sold out in less than two hours with the divided crowd giving Hannity and Anderson a raucous reception.

The two have been feuding for months. Anderson originally was scheduled to appear on Hannity's cable television show, 'Hannity and Colmes' on March 8. That appearance was canceled the day of the show.

Following the show's cancellation, the two agreed to debate for charity, although it took weeks to finalize details. It was supposed to be a strictly organized debate, but Anderson and Hannity both broke their own rules by frequently interrupting the other and avoiding answering one another's questions.
Sean Hannity showed guts. Its not often that a pundit will surrender control and enter a debate that they would otherwise control on their own show. Sean Hannity has the comfort of having his own TV and Radio program and doesn't need to engage in a high wire act with potential for humiliation.

He regularly takes callers and invites guests to debate. In this format, Sean as host (and co-host with Alan Colmes) has the benefit of steering the conversation as well as the right of reply. It allows him to apply his trademark Hannity move, reading a litany of controversial quotes from like minds of the opponent (no matter how tangential or out of context) after which he demands their justification. Its the type of edge afforded to a host.

It is to Hannity's credit that he participated in this event hosted by The Associated Students of the University of Utah. Hannity is no stranger to partisan debating in Utah. Utah Valley State College was involved in a firestorm surrounding the contentious invitation of Michael Moore to speak on campus. Sean Hannity was booked by the UVHC prior to Moore's engagement to create a balance to appease the majority Conservative community. This drama was gloriously captured in the documentary, 'This Divided State'. Here Sean Hannity would get a taste of the passionate divide he would experience in this showdown with Rocky.

Read comments on the debate from the Right (Newsbusters)
Read comments from the left (Huffington Post)
Read comments from some of those in attendance
Read how the debate was compared to an APF wrestling match- actually they said the WWF (sic)
Watch Video It's ON! or is it?
Read and Watch a comprehensive recap of the debate

VIDEO: Watch debate excerpts between Sean Hannity and Rocky Anderson

Monday, May 7, 2007

If Mark Levin was Chris Matthews

10 Republican presidential hopefuls recently had a 90minute debate moderated by Chris Matthews, an interesting choice as Chris has many detractors on both sides of the aisle:
a) Chris Matthews has been a MediaMatters award winner.
b) FreeRepublic wonders how bad Matthews is.
c) Newsbusters considers a boycott.

Listen to the usually excitable Mark Levin providing a level-headed assessment of the debate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Aura: How pundits and politicians preserve their image (part 2 of 2)

continued from Aura Part 1
One way to endear yourself to an audience even when losing in a debate or presenting an opposition viewpoint is to be the bigger man. If you can demonstrate that you have a sense of humor and that you don't take yourself too seriously, it can nullify the sting of an attack.

Take Mike Stark from Calling All Wingnuts, a liberal mischief maker who frequently called in to pester and duel with Sean Hannity. Whilst other conservative radio hosts would have muted Mike, Sean entertained Mike's shenanigans. When Mike snuck in an unflattering sign on the Hannity and Colmes show, Sean self deprecatingly linked to it on his website. Mike acknowledged that Sean was a good sport in a folksy call to Hannity's radio show.

Listen to Mike Stark and Sean Hannity riffing
Note: My thesis seems to fall apart here, as the CallingAllWingnuts posters don't give Hannity an inch Despite Mike's non-hostile sentiments towards Sean in the phone call. I still stand by the fact that Sean's self deprecating approach to the sign mollifies the taunt and ultimately makes him look better in this instance

An important factor in creating aura is choosing your opponents carefully. The boldest APF pundits are probably Bill O'Reilly and Bill Maher. Whilst most pundits carefully control who they appear with, the two Bills are game enough to debate in hostile environments. Bill O'Reilly in particular invites the challenge. Whilst this fearlessness in dueling enlarges O'Reilly's aura it can also lead to embarrassment if he is overmatched and underestimates the opponent. To an extent Bill can still manage how he is perceived if losing in a debate but TV requires more finesse than when on the radio.
Not only does TV capture discomfort more fully, its also much harder to cut off a guest or caller visually whereas on the radio they can simply be muted. In any case the host of the show still has the final word.

Watch Bill O'Reilly flexing his muscle by "conquering the secular progressive tv circuit"

Watch Bill use his infamous line 'Cut the mic', to disqualify himself from a debate

Watch Bill's tussle with a formidable civilian, disqualifying himself and retaining the belt.

Watch Bill in an epic duel with Phil Donahue. Bill enlarges his aura of fairness and competitiveness by reading out some reader comments of the debate.

At the end of the day, Aura determines the hierarchy of the APF pundits. Whilst they can be appraised by how many viewers they have and their influence on the wider political landscape. They are ultimately only powerful in their own fiefdoms and in the context they've created. Since its rare that APF pundits from the left and right clash mano-a-mano, we are left to rank them against one another through their Aura.