BackTalk: Debates, Danziger Bridge, Kid Bans

Guest host Allison Keyes and NPR Digital News' Corey Dade comb through listener responses, particularly to a recent conversation about kids misbehaving in public. Dade gives an update on the Danziger Bridge case and shares his report about whether political debates are needed in a world of social media.

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ALLISON KEYES, host: This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Allison Keyes. Michel Martin is away.

Coming up, two hip-hop kings collaborate for the new album "Watch the Throne." But do Kanye West and Jay-Z live up to their royal hype? We'll find out next.

But first, it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. Corey Dade is right here with me. He's the national correspondent for NPR Digital News. Welcome back, Corey.

COREY DADE: Hi, Allison.

KEYES: Before we talk about our coverage, I understand you've got a story for us.

DADE: I do. Earlier in the program you talked about the Republican presidential debate last night. There were fireworks onstage, of course. But actually, some of the more interesting exchanges may have been online.

KEYES: I'm shocked.

DADE: I know. Twitter and the blogs were just blowing up all night with analysis of every comment, every facial expression, every nervous tick of each candidate, all in real time. So what we're seeing is for the first time a presidential campaign that's fully digital.

I talked with Republican strategist Marc Lampkin about this and here's how he says it works. A candidate says something at 11:00 a.m. It makes the news an hour later. The candidate's opponent retaliates with a response an hour after that. So the back and forth that used to take 24 hours may now only take about two.

KEYES: Or two seconds on Twitter.

DADE: That's right. And so a debate nowadays might be little more than a review of the day's Twitter traffic.

KEYES: Right.

DADE: Marc Lampkin says the debates this time around will be more about optics. So how candidates behave in the limelight, they're poised, they're calm. In other words, who appears presidential?

KEYES: We also have an update of a story we covered earlier this summer - the trial of five New Orleans police officers who were charged with civil rights violations and the shooting of unarmed civilians and a cover-up of the crime. This all happened on the city's Danziger Bridge days after Hurricane Katrina struck. Two people were killed and four others were injured.

DADE: Allison, now, I covered Hurricane Katrina and I can tell you, this case captured the chaos and fear that just consumed the city during the flooding. There was widespread concern among plenty of people in New Orleans that these officers would be found not guilty. But last week, all officers were convicted on all counts. Each officer involved in the shootings could face multiple life sentences.

KEYES: Thanks, Corey. And now we turn to comments about this week's parenting conversation about kids misbehaving in public and the businesses that are trying to ban them. One restaurant in Pennsylvania banned kids under the age of six. Here's what one of our guests, Leslie Morgan Steiner, had to say.

LESLIE MORGAN STEINER: You know, I have been with my kids when they've been misbehaving in restaurants and other places. And if somebody comes up to me, I have this primal reaction that I want to kill them. You know, they're insulting my children.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DADE: Allison, we've all been in the supermarket when a child throws a tantrum. Next thing you know, it's cleanup on aisle six.

KEYES: Right.

DADE: Well, there were plenty of parents who wrote in to tell us that these bans go too far. But other listeners said that banning kids could be good for business. Here's what Fiona Harrison from Charleston, West Virginia had to say.

FIONA HARRISON: Thank God there are business establishments and airlines and other public places willing to stand up and ban kids. For those of us who don't have kids and don't want kids, we've waited for this for years. And a child-free airline? Sign me up. Child-free movies? Finally. And every parent who says my kids are really good or my children never misbehave in restaurants, give me a break.

KEYES: Thanks for your comment, Fiona.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

KEYES: Thanks to you, Corey. Yeah, you're a dad.

DADE: That's right. But I can agree. Thank you, Allison.

KEYES: It's not your daughter, we know.

And remember, with TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again is 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave us your name and tell us how to pronounce it. You can also find us on Facebook. Just look for NPR, TELL ME MORE.

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