10/20/16 Debates


The final debate of the presidential campaign is over. And America celebrates.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

There’ve been more than two-dozen debates. They’ve ranged from bad to awful. I’m not talking about the candidates. It’s the media performance.

Cable channels and networks pursued sensationalism instead of serving the public interest.

Primary debate formats often favored certain candidates.

Most were devoid of serious policy questions that highlighted policy differences. Instead, viewers witnessed trick and gotcha questions and ad hominem attacks.

Several debates passed before someone finally asked about Supreme Court appointments. They’re kind of a big deal.

Here are some low moments.

Fox News used its first debate as a vehicle to promote its shiny new host.

ABC’s Martha Raddatz abandoned impartiality and debated with one candidate. Lester Holt threw-out a factoid that was flat-out wrong. Elaine Quijano of CBS sandwiched her softball questions to one candidate between interruptions of the other.

Email leaks revealed CNBC’s John Harwood was secretly advising Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Donna Brazile sent Clinton a question in advance. [Update 31 Oct 16: Newly leaked emails reveal Brazile sent more than one debate question in advance to Clinton.]

Instead of getting fair, honest and professional debates, Americans were subjected to the political version of the Gong Show.

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