Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debate Post-Mortem: Darn That Liberal Media!

I hadn't planned to blog about the Democratic debate at all, but I am just beyond pissed tonight. Remember how conservatives couldn't figure out why Democrats refused to participate in a Fox News debate? Tonight's trainwreck on ABC is the answer.

Over the course of two hours, the moderators-- Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos (the latter of whom literally took question cues from Sean Hannity)-- focused not on the serious crises we face, but rather on an endless assault of right-wing talking points. In the first hour, all that was asked were "questions" about... Bittergate, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, sniper fire, and flags pins and patriotism. That was it. Hour two brought more fair and balanced questions as to why Democrats would be mean to Gen. Petraeus by asking for a withdrawal plan, why we must nuke Iran before they get to Israel, why Obama wants to ruin the economy by raining on George Bush's tax cut parade, why the two candidates hate guns so much, how Obama wants his daughters want to steal someone's college admission slot with affirmative action, how to make gas cheap and plentiful, and who can destroy who more (and I am only barely exaggerating how each of those questions were framed).

And while Sen. Obama looked like he just trying to survive a mugging (and not doing the best job of it), Sen. Clinton gleefully played along, hyping up the anti-Obama rhetoric, with a few Giuliani-esque 9/11 references thrown in for fun. All this in the "debate" before a primary we have been told is about looking out for Joe Lunchpal.

This debate represented everything that is wrong with American politics today in two painful hours. In his on-point liveblogging, Andrew Sullivan sums it up by stating "Gibson and Stephanopoulos are clearly part of the problem in this election and part of what has to be reformed... It's pure Rove, sustained and hyped and sustained by Stephanopoulos and Gibson. It's what they know; it's easy; and it will generate ratings. It is not journalism."

And it is only April. Can our collective intelligence really take another 7 months of this?

If you missed it, thank the lord video should be online somewhere in the morning. In the meantime, read more mindblown live-blogs (with factual rebuttals to the moderators ignorance) from Mother Jones, Americablog, the Philadelphia Daily News, Reason magazine, and Talking Points Memo.

[UPDATE: TPM has put together a video highlight lowlight reel for your amusement.]

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