1. It was unlike any debate I've seen at that level. It was essentially a reality TV show. The crowd was cheering/booing throughout. Moderators, such as they were, interacted with the candidates and voiced opinions. LOTS of moderator camera time.
2. My specific analogy to this event is how Fox re-engineered sports broadcasting when they got rights to the NFL in the mid 1990s. Dumbed down both the color and play-by-play to make it more "accessible" to everyone. Same was true with any sort of sports analysis FOX covered. And ratings soared. So other networks soon followed suit.
3. I'm thinking the same thing is about to happen here with major political debates. The ratings for this debate were huge (I've read that 24 million people watched), and FOX's coverage was mostly praised by other media outlets.
4. I love it when pervasive media creates an event, promotes that same event like it's news, and then applauds itself about their handling of the event after it's over.