ABC debate moderators catch hell

As explained in the previous post, I missed ABC’s Democratic debate in Philadelphia.

In addition to the transcript (LINK), I have read numerous critiques, all lambasting the debate moderators.

To be fair, the bulk of these were written by obvious Barack Obama supporters who thought he was treated unfairly. I am a Clinton supporter, and I agree.

On the other hand, most TV pundits I’ve seen since the debate have declared Clinton the clear winner – in terms of overall advantage.

Of the many articles I’ve read, here are two which stand out as most informative:


“Numerous media figures have criticized George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson, moderators of the Democratic presidential debate on ABC, or the subject matter of the event, in part or in whole, as "shoddy [and] despicable," "specious and gossipy," "cringe-worthy," "banal," consisting of "tabloid trivia," "flat-out repulsive," "embarrassing," "seem[ingly] slanted against [Sen. Barack] Obama," "shameful," and "an outrage." READ MORE


Nothing like an ethical and ticked-off journalist to get my attention. In this open letter to the two moderators, Will Bunch of The Philadelphia Daily News reminds them – and us – of a free press’ obligation to serve the citizenry. Bunch is angry, yet manages to turn all that venomous energy into an outstanding critique. READ MORE

Wouldn’t you know it! The one debate of this long campaign season which I’ve missed turns out to be a lollapalooza of lame journalism! That would have set my keyboard afire!


Jan said...

Good post, BJ. Jan noticed another journalist agrees with what you have been saying all along about the responsability of journalists. Maybe when there is another debate, the American people will hear a debate on the issues. That is what the citizenry wants to hear.

Thanks for keeping your posts on target with the issues and facts. Your readers appreciate good journalism. You're the tops lady.

Keep up your good work. With more journalists like you and Will Bunch, you might bring in some more honest to goodness journalists. Jan

B.J. said...

Jan: Here’s what the Congressional Quarterly’s Craig Crawford says about a possible North Carolina debate over at his blog, “Trail Mix:”

“Barack Obama's less-than-stellar debate performance this week means that the Democratic presidential frontrunner will probably need to abandon his hopes for ducking the next debate - especially if party rival Hillary Rodham Clinton handily beats him in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary.

“So far, Obama has refused to join Clinton in agreeing to the North Carolina Democratic Party’s April 27 debate to be aired on CBS in advance of the state's May 6 primary. State officials say they have already received 20,000 requests for tickets.

“Had Obama performed a bit better in the Pennsylvania faceoff on Wednesday, the Illinois senator might be able to maintain his stiff-arm of the next debate. But his measured and defensive answers under fire left some undecided superdelegates needing to see another round where he shows more spunk.

“North Carolina leaders are grumpy about Obama’s reluctance. In an open letter to Obama on Thursday, the Greensboro News-Record editorial board bluntly asked, “Do we matter to you?”

“Obama could wait until Tuesday’s Pennsylvania balloting to decide. But if Clinton does well enough to keep going, he’ll probably have to debate her again anyway. And, if she loses, that will probably be the end of her campaign.

“So, it would seem to be smart politics for Obama to get it over with and agree now to the North Carolina debate.”

Eowyn said...

When this primary opened the Democatic nominees looked like good choices for president, but dubious at best in this particular election. People have been burned in every way for eight years. So it takes not a fresh new face or a fighter to win the election. One will win the primary,because there is no choice, but the election?

They have been given all the time in the world in the public eye. And somehow they are on a downward spiral based on themselves! I think they should never have been subjected to so long a primary, maybe I could come up with more excuses, but the fact is that in the eyes of the public they look weaker every day. It's the media's fault, the primary is too long, what else?

I'm not a person who can pinpoint what's wrong, but for the fact that I think the Party chose two great candidates for another election. This election would have to have had at least one candidate who could break away from this ridiculous quibbling, accusing, back-biting and straight-out lying and talk to the public. One with more experience that the public would see right away.

Sorry, and I'm really sorry for the election, but I think the Party has for some reason put two really good candidates out there to dry. Neither was ready? I don't know, but they can't take control of the thing or the media in the public's eyes. They are not seasoned politicians. They are locked in there with each other, a prisoner of the media.

Everyone says that was a horrible media event--but it influences people! Every time I walk into work I hear more people saying McCain--Democrats too!

Even my own brother said McCain will spring Rice as the VP and quell the enormous growing disgruntlement.

People are already looking beyond the Dems. What do you do?!!!!!

B.J. said...

“Prisonrs of the media.” Hmmm. That they have been. Too long a campaign + too much media scrutiny = a distortion of qualifying merits. When Obama was having a honeymoon wth the media, I wroe a post which suggested that as soon as he became the apparent frontrunner, said media would turn on him. Both candidates have made the mistake of allowing the media to manipulate them and attempting to adjust to molds the media have made for them. The media say “go on the offense,” and as soon as either did, the media framed it as an “attack.” Turn back time to how promising each was before they yielded to the tyranny of expectations and morphed into the molds.

Here’s what a conservative friend emailed:

“B.J., I didn't watch it (the debate), but have seen and listened to a lot of followup on it. It appears you liberals have a thin skin when subjected to probing questions that should have been asked long ago. I think Obama got some of that last night. I don't think you could call Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous darlings of the right. They raked Obama over the coals, and now he is whining about it along with the far left. You can't have it both ways. He is running for POTUS, and is fair game. If he has any skeletons in the closet, it would be good to just bring them out before he gets in the general election. The super delegates are getting antsy with both democrat candidates.”

Thin-skinned? No, just good people finding out, through intense media scrutiny, what politic campaigns have always been. This stuff is Mickey Mouse compared to campaigns in the past. Kerry was “swift-boated,” and McCain was viciously attacked by the Bushies in South Carolina. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Abrupt subject chnnge: The hobbit has left a comment under “Red-faced,” my previous post. Are we to deduce that Frodo and Sam flew to Arizon, picked up Bilbo and took her to Disneyland in California for her birthday? He gave no clue on his blog. Ever the hobbit of mystery, huh?

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