Wednesday, April 16, 2008

who lost the debate? - ABC

What a sad show. The first 40 minutes was spent endlessly rehashing completely irrelevant issues of mis-statements and tenuous associations with people who clearly don't represent the candidate's positions or opinions. Every time Obama answered correctly by pointing out that the country is facing serious issues: two wars, a planet in peril, a failing economy, a health care crisis, and instead the media wastes our time on these issues while the people hunger for real information. And then the media, ABC in this case, proved his point by moving on to the next irrelevancy. Clinton, unfortunately, happily played along, repeating the accusations and agreeing that there is some substantive issue to explore in these cases when in fact there is not.

And then, finally, when the debate did move to substantive issues, both Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous seemed much more interested in setting traps for the candidates than in listening to what they had to say. Both of them repeatedly interrupted the candidate's answers in order to catch them up in small, technical issues, instead of letting them speak to the larger point. This was not a forum for intelligent, meaningful discussion, but an opportunity to, hopefully for the network, create more irrelevant unfortunate soundbites to hound the candidates with in the next few days. The network bumpers between commercial breaks made it clear that ABC was hoping for a boxing match "Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama go one-on-one" not a presentation of ideas. Charles Gibson even began the show with a analogy comparing the primaries to a boxing match in the 15th round after being scheduled for 10.

I thought it was disgusting, infuriating, and entirely not helpful to the process of a nation choosing its President. And I hope this is the last debate of this format that the candidates feel they have to subject themselves to. I certainly won't watch another one.

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