Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Sunday, December 02, 2007 :::

In case you haven't heard, there was a Republican presidential debate last week, featuring clips from Youtube. CNN, in its role as editor, beclowned itself (see alternatively Jonah Goldberg's explanation). Geraghty's view is close to mine:
Before this debate, I was in Patrick Ruffini's camp, in that I thought a YouTube debate was worth trying. But afterwards, I'm skeptical that this needs to turn into a new campaign tradition. The freakishly-bizarre-to-valuable-question ratio was all out of whack...
I also thought it was worth trying, and I don't know whether CNN picked "freakishly bizarre" questions because there really weren't any good ones out there, or whether they did it simply because they could. If it's the latter, it's still worth doing, just not with CNN; if it's the former, it might still be worth trying again in four years, as the universe of people capable of uploading video expands and, presumably, becomes more normal.

Hughitt has the following to say:
The network is either incompetent in a way no serious news organization should be, or wholly captured by agenda journalists of the left.
"Can't he be both like the late Earl Warren?"
No serious anchor would want to be where Cooper is today, at the center of a vast train wreck which cannot be explained away as the inevitable result of the sudden appearance of big news in a difficult setting, as with hysterical Katrina coverage of bodies stacked in freezers and gun fights in the Superdome, or the result of the input of bad data, as with the early call of Florida for Gore in 2000.

No, this premeditated mediocrity. The network had months to prepare and consider and execute. But even with all that time, it lacked the minimal talent necessary to produce a serious debate about important issues using new technology. All it could deliver was a carnival of bad taste, trick questions, and full frontal left wing bias.

Peggy Noonan has a good point (in a column mostly about Senator Clinton's evitability, which, by the way, was backed up today by a poll showing Obama leading in Iowa):
I thought of this the other night when citizens who turned out to be partisans for Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards asked the Republicans, in debate, would Jesus support the death penalty, do you believe every word of the Bible, and what does the Confederate flag mean to you?

It was a good debate, feisty and revealing. It's not bad that the questions had a certain spin, and played on stereotypes of the GOP. It's just bad that it doesn't quite happen at Democratic debates. Somehow, there, an obscure restraint sets in on the part of news producers. Too bad. Running for most powerful person in the world is, among other things, an act of startling presumption. They all should be grilled, everyone, both sides. Winter voting approaches; may many chestnuts be roasted on an open fire.
I like Stephen Green's proposal - in that first link - that the candidates just sit around a table and grill each other. I'd like one with the top Republicans and the top Democrats, though I think that might have worked better a few months ago, when it would have been three-on-three; if you did three-on-three now, it wouldn't be clear that Edwards would belong on the stage, and you'd have to leave out two serious Republicans.

::: posted by Steven at 5:19 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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