Matt Taibbi has an interesting take on the debate. He thinks that both Obama and Romney lost. But I suspect that he sees it pretty much the way everyone else does, because he spends most of the article attacking what Romney actually said.
The main point of the article is that the media should not elevate style over substance. They already know that they work in a medium that distorts politics in a very bad way. But instead of pushing back against this, they just pile on more.
Taibbi discusses this as it related to the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates:
In that legendary meeting, radio viewers thought Nixon won, but TV viewers, blown away by Kennedy’s smile and tan, thought was a landslide for the Democrat.
Journalists who cite that Nixon-Kennedy debate always forget that the lesson of that night is that the new broadcast media technology made superficiality and nonsense more important—that thanks to the press, it was now possible to get someone elected to the most powerful office on earth because he had a superior tan. Reporters love this story because it reminds everyone that the medium they work in has the power to overcome substance and decide elections all by itself. What’s amazing is that they don’t have the good sense to be ashamed of this.
Indeed, they should be ashamed. But they aren’t. This reminds me of when Bill O’Reilly is on The Daily Show claiming that he’s just an entertainer. I’m inclined to believe him. But it isn’t just him. It is most TV news people. Hell, it is most newspaper people.
Reporters should have instantly pelted Romney with bags of dogshit for insulting the American people with this ridiculous non-answer, but he was instead praised for the canny “strategy” hidden in the response. Despite the fact that Romney is running as a budget hawk and yet has refused to name any actual programs (except Obamacare and PBS) he will cut, reporters gave him credit in the debate for being willing to be the bearer of bad budgetary news, because he essentially advance-fired Jim Lehrer on TV. Many also complimented the “humor” of the line about Big Bird.
Of course they did. You know why? Because there’s no business like their business:
 I’ve always wondered about this. Isn’t it likely that the in 1960, the radio-listening public skewed conservative? I don’t know, but it’s a reasonable question.