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Monday, July 18, 2016

GOP Convention -- Night 1

The first night of the Republican national convention is done.  We don't know yet how many people tuned in to the coverage, but we can say that it was quite an evening.  There were three highlights tonight:  1) the barn burner of a speech by Rudy Giuliani; 2) the introduction by Donald Trump of his wife Melania; and 3) the warm remarks by Melania Trump.  It may be that for those in the hall, there were other moments that rival these three, but I limited my selection to events that took place between 10 and 11 PM Eastern time because that is when all the networks covered the convention.

Rudy Giuliani gave an emotional but strong and well-reasoned indictment of the current failures by president Obama to keep the country safe and of the stated plans by Hillary Clinton for more of the same.  When Rudy paraphrased Obama's famous quote that there are no white Americans or black Americans just the one America, he added a question:  where did that sentiment go?  It was a major indictment of the failure by Obama to do anything to improve race relations in the country.  Indeed, it pointed out that Obama has been a total failure in that regard. 

Donald Trump's introduction of his wife was very short, but it was a moment of high drama nevertheless. 

Then came Melania's speech.  She has an accent since she is a naturalized American who was born in Slovenia.  Her speech made clear, however, that she loves her husband and believes he will be a great president.  But her speech was not just some platitudes strung together as is often the case when the wife of the candidate speaks.  She gave witness to Donald Trump's tireless efforts to achieve his goals.  She explained that he never gives up and that -- unlike most of those in Washington -- he actually achieves what he sets out to do.  It was a high point, and it could easily have swayed many voters into support for Trump.

As the night moved on to a speech by general Flynn, I was switching networks to see what sort of spin was being put on the evening.  CBS and NBC seemed to be talking most about how divided the Republicans are.  Their pundits could have been reading from talking points developed by the Clinton campaign.  They were focused on the mini-fight of the afternoon session which is now totally over, rather than on the speeches of the evening.  ABC with former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos was actually more balanced in its summary.  ABC recognized the afternoon as a minor event and spent its time discussing the evening's lineup.  PBS had much more extensive coverage, going from 8 to 11, but it still had a major slant against the GOP.  At one point, the supposedly unbiased Gwen Ifill said of sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee county that the Republicans had "managed to dig up a black sheriff" to give a speech.  It was a demonstration of major bias.  I never got to the cable news networks other than Fox News.  I did not have time to waste on sampling MSNBC or CNN since I doubt many people watched there.  Fox News seemed balanced in its coverage.

We will need to see how the next three nights of the convention go.  If they proceed as well as tonight, the Republican ticket should be in a good place as the campaign begins in earnest. 

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