For a variety of logistical reasons, I wasn’t able to watch last night’s Democratic candidate debate, sponsored by ABC. But I did watch some highlights–or as they put it, lowlights–put together by TalkingPointsMemo, and it does indeed look like the terrible reviews are justified. Here’s what Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales had to say:
When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates’ debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news — in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.
The main complaint is that the moderators spent an inordinate amount of tiime on substance-free gotcha questions and querelous follow-ups, mostly aimed at Obama. The whole show, which also featured constant commercial breaks, was generally so bad that the audience booed the moderators at the end.
This will probably be the last debate between the Democratic contenders in this cycle, and it is devoutly to be hoped that the news media have learned some things about how to conduct a debate that will be used during the general election. Last night’s event wasn’t, however, a good sign.
UPCATEGORY: Democratic Strategist