If a Debate Happens and Nobody Watches…

Tomorrow night the Democrats are having a debate in Iowa. Who knew? See, you probably can’t watch it, even if you wanted to, since the event is airing on HD Net, the Mark Cuban-owned channel that broadcasts only to HD-ready sets. Seven million people get HD Net as part of their cable packages.

The forum itself, a caucus-season tradition called the Iowa Black and Brown Forum , sounds pretty engaging. It asks candidates to focus on issues that matter to African-American and Latino communities. It will be simulcast in Iowa for almost everybody who subscribes to MediaCom cable—about 450,000 people.

Of the 7.5 million who could watch, only a few hundred thousand, at most, will. The CNN/YouTube debate that took place earlier this week pulled in 4.4 million people —the most ever for any primary debate. CNN is in nearly a hundred million households.

But these days, a debate’s reach hardly matters. As long as someone can get the eight candidates together and turn on a camera, you can be sure that anything newsworthy will finds its way to YouTube. And from there, into the political press. And from there, to the talk radio shows. Just think back to how Hillary’s cackle infiltrated the mainstream press a few months ago. That first happened on the Sunday talk shows, which the average American doesn’t tune in to.

And really, who wants to hang out with Dennis Kucinich on a Saturday night, anyway? Mike Gravel on the other hand…