Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Debate Debacle

Thirty six minutes into the debate, my wife says I can turn on the Red Sox game. "They are not asking them anything about anything that matters," she says.


We've revisted bitter. We've gone back to Bosnia

The Debate Debacle


Thirty six minutes into the debate, my wife says I can turn on the Red Sox game. "They are not asking them anything about anything that matters," she says.


We've revisted bitter. We've gone back to Bosnia. We've dragged Rev. Wright back up onto the podium. We've mis-spent this debate by allowing Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos to ask questions that skirt what in my mind is what we need to know now.

What would they do about the mess they'd inherit? The war.  Health care. The economy. Stupid.


Morning after update. Looks like the inanity went on for 52 minutes. Tom Shales in the Washington Post argued that the 2-hour commercials-crammed debate began with Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelling:

entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

He called the broadcast "shoddy and despicable."

Downstairs at Attytood, Will Bunch wrote an open letter to the network anchors once he got his hands to stop shaking in anger:

You disgraced my profession of journalism, and, by association, me and a lot of hard-working colleagues who do still try to ferret out the truth, rather than worry about who can give us the best deal on our capital gains taxes. But it's even worse than that. By so badly botching arguably the most critical debate of such an important election, in a time of both war and economic misery, you disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself.

Meanwhile vox pop is going strong at, where 12,560 people had commented by 10:10 a.m. A sampling:

With Life & Death issues on the table for this election ABC thinks Flag Pins, 60's radicals, Elitism, and religion are the main issues.. Ever wonder why Network News is losing market share? People without Health Insurance Die, Soldiers in Iraq die, Food cost have risen 11% in a month, Food Riots in Haiti, What was George thinking? Gas Prices at my filling station have risen 6 cents a week for the last 3 months and refiners are cutting production? Please tell me that there was something besides Lies about Bosnia that are relevant to me! Dang it!! I'm sinking with rising prices a falling dollar, and everything I own is worth less today than it was yesterday.. Please Tell me that you could have found something to talk about besides God Guns and Israel..

Did anyone like the debate? Over at the National Review, Stephen Spruiell did. He said issues like the environment, interrogation and health care were properly shunned.

ABC’s debate was a success because it steered clear of issues like these, i.e. issues on which the candidates mostly agree. How many times have we heard Clinton and Obama argue endlessly over what amounts to a very minor difference in their health-care plans?


Inquirer Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
Daniel Rubin Inquirer Columnist
Also on
letter icon Newsletter