Presidential debates on TV in peril

Meh, it’s finals and I don’t feel like writing as much as I used to.  My right hand/wrist seems to be threatening Carpal’s tunnel syndrome and I DON’T need that with 15 page papers due.  So I find other’s articles and post them.  Check out this Clarence Page article about the debates that I never got a chance to write about.

Keep it uppity, and keep it radical, JLL

Presidential debates on TV in peril

april 23, 2008, by Clarence Page

There may not be any more presidential debates between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, partly because of the bad aroma that ABC’s interrogation before Pennsylvania’s primary left behind in many noses.

In fact, when you consider the rising risks that televised debates pose in the age of YouTube, especially for front-runners, we’ll be lucky to see any more presidential debates at all.

North Carolina‘s Democratic Party has canceled the debate that CBS had hoped to broadcast on April 27, in advance of the state’s May 6 primary. It was expected to be the last of what seems to be an endless string of primary face-offs. Clinton had agreed to it, but Obama wouldn’t commit. Clinton’s campaign criticized Obama for that, but he told reporters that he would rather spend his time meeting voters. Considering the pummeling he took on ABC, who could blame him?

Besides, he said, after 21 debates the two candidates can recite each other’s lines by heart. Right. That’s the trouble. If they did recite each other’s lines, the two liberal Democrats wouldn’t sound all that much different from how they sound now, at least, not on the big important issues. As a result, they almost invite questions about the small stuff, the hot-button “gotcha” questions that make exciting television.

Obama looked like he’d rather be any place other than the Pennsylvania debate, a heat-seeking scandal probe moderated by ABC anchormen Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. For about half of its 90 minutes, Obama faced questions that gave more importance to whether he likes wearing American flag lapel pins than how he would deal with job losses, health care, the Iraq war or rising fuel prices.

Clinton seemed only slightly more at ease as she pushed herself through yet another explanation and apology for exaggerating the sniper fire she never actually encountered in Bosnia.

…for more of this article click here!

4 thoughts on “Presidential debates on TV in peril

  1. 45 minutes of a 90 minute debate centered on Obama’s personal qualities.

    Most of the campaign for the nomination has focused on Hillary’s qualities.

    20+ prior debates Obama had the chance to talk about issues, but demurred.

  2. That’s a matter of opinion.

    I feel that THIS particular debate, in isolation was a character assasination. Especially given the past history of George Stephanopoulos and Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the fact that a Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly gave kudos to Stephanopoulos makes me further leery of the debate.

    And you’re right: this was debate number 21, I mean seriously, there’s no need for them. I was actually quite mad that Obama agreed to these last two, I fail to see what else can be accomplished. It seems to be a Clinton strategy to do debates and then come off as smug when a debate is denied.

  3. Absolutely! You point is extremely valid re: the Clinton strategy. It is standard political tactics. There are two reasons for this maneuver in political campaigns:

    1) A candidate who is faltering like the earlier Clinton campaign (you can have the opinion it is faltering now, but let’s factor that out) needs to challenge Obama to more TV debates to grab air time. This is what she did earlier this year. The candidate in the lead can shoot them down and say no as part of their strategy of saying, “Naw, we’re good. Thanks.” Obama did that.

    2) A candidate who is damaged by earlier debates can refuse providing a counter by the opposing candidate, which might be “smug.” Or the candidate saying, “see look at that. Is candidate Y able to face the fire?”

    I think both camps and those not aligned to camps can honestly say that over 21 hours of debate air time, really!? Really!? Is that needed?

    Speaking to you point re: Stephanopoulos, it would take a fool to admit that George’s intentions were not nefarious at best. I would, however, like to point out that earlier debates, hell I can’t even keep count anymore, were hard on Clinton because of pro-Obama moderators (I am not saying media conspiracy). The debate sponsored by and CNN put a pro-Obama writer as a moderator who was all over Clinton.

    This is what happens, sadly, especially in a ratings driving media culture.

    Nevertheless, thanks for your follow up!

  4. honestly, i’m not hating on clinton–she gotta do what she gotta do. and i know if the shoe was on the other foot, i’d be saying obama needs to do more debates.

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