Saturday, November 17, 2007

Presidential debates becoming meaningless

Presidential debates have long been exercises in media silliness, but the current round of dog and pony shows has moved beyond ridiculous. In 17 debates, featuring over 1,500 questions, only a small handful of those queries involved the candidates' views on the most pressing issues facing the country in the era of Bush and company.

There has been only one question about illegal wiretapping, and not a single one about whether the president should be allowed to order the indefinite detention of American citizens without charging them with any crime. No moderator has mentioned the words "habeas corpus" once. Even after it came to light two weeks ago that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program began long before the September 11, 2001 attacks, moderators on both CNN and Fox News avoided the issue completely in the last two debates.

But while those topics were virtually ignored, the network talking heads did manage to ask the candidates what they would "go as" for Halloween and whether it would really be "good for America" to have Bill Clinton living in the White House. NBC's Tim Russert spent his valuable time asking Dennis Kucinich whether he had seen a UFO, while CNN went so far as to have a graduate student change her question for Hillary Clinton from one about nuclear waste to the gem: "Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?"END OF POST

1 comment:

Bill T. Justice said...

These endless debates are just useless and tell us nothing of any substance about the candidates. The addition of these "infotainment" questions really gets me though. As if anyone taking the time to watch two hours or more of political debate falls into the category of needing a diamonds or Pearls or UFO question to be entertained. These guys seem to know nothing about their own audiences.