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#FanGate Takes Center Stage at Florida Governor’s Debate
By: Jennifer Graber
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The election season is upon us. Television programs are interspersed with political commercials attacking candidates. We also cannot go one day without telemarketing calls touting political parties. This season also means it is time for televised debates. It is a time for candidates to duke it out on important issues that affect our communities, states, and the nation. Such issues include economic success, unemployment rates, medical marijuana, marriage equality, electronic privacy, and more.
 
Wait — that list should not include electronic privacy. What I meant was electronic devices. And by electronic devices, I mean a fan. On Wednesday evening a gubernatorial debate took place in Florida between incumbent Rick Scott and challenger Charlie Crist. Crist and Scott were set to take the stage in the televised debate to discuss the hard-hitting issues. However, there was just one problem. Scott refused to take the stage with his opponent because of a fan. Yes, an electric fan. It was a fan that provides cool air and ventilation. It was not a magical fan with all the right debate answers.
 
Scott felt as if Crist was blatantly breaking debate rules that barred electronic devices or props. Crist stood alone on the stage for several minutes. Debate moderators called out the peculiarity of the situation. Eventually Scott relented and joined his opponent. From that point forward the crowd, moderators, and candidates attempted to ignore the breezy situation. Since the debate Scott has responded. He pointed the finger of blame at his staff. Additionally, Scott said Crist needed a fan because he was sweating over his dismal track record. Scott also said he was surprised that Crist did not request dry ice for the occasion. Essentially the governor’s response rounded out the situation quite well; it added perfectly to the cluster of a situation that transpired.
 
Of course, Florida’s governor debate took the social media world by storm. The bizarre, and hilarious, situation has been dubbed #FanGate on the social media airwaves. The tweets have been rolling in and range from humorous to absurd. Social media users called out Scott’s behavior, stating it was a temper tantrum. Others said his behavior was petty and he could not be trusted to handle big issues. Of course cartoonists and humorists have had a field day creating cartoons and Internet memes. And a few, but mighty, have stood by Scott.  
 
Social media is really on a roll with this Crist and Scott debate. Not only was it given an appropriate nickname, but Crist’s fan got its very own Twitter name. That is right, folks! You can follow the infamous fan at @CCristFan. The fan is on its way straight to the top. The next stop is Hollywood!
 
To be fair, allegedly there were rules that were previously established barring the use of a fan on stage. This was per a previous debate. But clearly this should have been dealt with prior to the start of the debate. There was no reason for the debate to be held up over a simple fan. Now the Internet and social media are going crazy over the debate, and not for the right reasons. The digital world should be discussing the crucial issues, and Crist’s and Scott’s responses — not a cooling device.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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