Post-mortem on the worst debate in the history of modern society

Well it was comforting to review some of the other live blogs this morning of the debate, and see that other sites mentioned a lot of the same ideas that we hit on - I think both jk and I found out that it's a lot harder to follow a debate, pick up key points, and then translate those into posts in very short order. So when the big boys are seeing what you're seeing, you feel pretty good.

What's also clear from this morning's postings is that last night was universally declared to be the worst televised debate ever. That might as well have been hosted by Fox News. The entire first hour was nothing more than shoddy, tabloid-level journalism. Questions of substance in the second hour had to be rushed because the first hour had to be focused on important issue like...well just how patriotic is Jeremiah Wright?

A couple other items struck me as well. One, I wanted to say this last night, but held it back so as to not sound overly pro-Obama. But the soft topic first hour questions were almost entirely related to Obama issues. Also, it might have been just me, but Hillary seemed to enjoy those a tad bit too much for my tastes.

The other issue, and I'm embarrassed for not remembering this at the time, regarded George Stephanopoulous. As a news organization, I think it was imperative that Charles Gibson (whose performance was absolutely horrendous) should have given a disclaimer at the beginning of the debate that George worked in the Bill Clinton administration as press secretary. I realize it was 15 years ago, and I know that a lot of people already know that, but given that he was questioning the two candidates I think any journalist ought to know to say that, at least to lift the appearance of impartiality or impropriety.

Many today have said that the debate was intentionally biased in favor of Clinton, and pointed to that very issue as their evidence. I'd like to believe that this isn't true, but given what I saw last night I can't disagree too strongly with them, and frankly ABC put themselves in the position to be questioned like this in the first place by not having someone else take up the second chair (would Cokie Roberts have been a worse choice?).

No comments: