Debate…I Don’t Think So!

OK, so I watched the Democratic debate last night…by accident.

I’ve purposefully stayed away from all political issues being discussed on television for a period of time.

Not because of the candidates, but because of the news anchors.

Between Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Campbell Brown, George Stephanopoulos, and the others, I feel cheated by their lack of intelligence, experience, and knowledge regarding the true purpose and practice of debate.

I’ve judged high school debate competitions more informative, more skillful, and more compelling than what these “news” journalists have given the world.

I want to see a real presidential debate where the moderator is not a TV personality, but someone from the National Forensic League or Cat Horner Bennett of Taos, New Mexico and Richard Sodikow of New York who coached the United States High School team to a world championship in debate held in New Zealand back in the 90’s.

I believe all three presidential candidates are smart, intelligent people who have plans for health care, the economy, Iraq, global warming, Darfur, America’s rising debt, etc., but because of the lack of true knowledge of skilled debate on the part of the network producers and “news” anchors, the candidates are left with a structure that provides only enough time for prepared sound bites.

With more and more compromising being done by the networks regarding fact finding, documentation, and the outsourcing of news, like CBS’s recent proposal to cut back on their news staff and use CNN as a source for news gathering, I believe we will begin to see less and less integrity in network television news.

Last night’s presidential debate on ABC is a prime example. A “debate” did not occur. It was nothing more than a Q & A session with Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos – two of ABC’s “news” stars – introducing questions from a YouTube like monitor.

This was not a debate.

This was a directed production.

All of the “debates” have been nothing more than directed productions.

Very rarely have any of the “moderators” actually listened to the candidates and engaged in guiding true debate — the worst being Wolf Blitzer and possibly, Anderson Cooper.

I believe the American public and the world wants integrity back in the news.

If that means less production value, then I don’t care.

Put the majority of the news budget into journalists being paid to fact find, document, and uncover truths.

I’m fine with a desk, a few lights, good sound and one camera on an ethical, trustworthy, journalist with integrity delivering sound, solid, factual news.

Let’s get back to the news being about the news.

And let’s get back to presidential debates being about actual debate.

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3 thoughts on “Debate…I Don’t Think So!

  1. I agree with you, but you know the longer a fixed medium lasts the more it becomes mediocre. I’d love to see the kind of debate you described, but network heads obviously don’t think such a show would do well in the ratings.
    Maybe that’s why more people care about who wins American Idol than who wins the White House?

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