First question: Why does the GOP continue to subject itself to debates moderated by left-wing journalists? Or, as Glenn Reynolds calls them, democrat operatives with by-lines. It's not just that they don't like you and won't be your friends, which is true. It's that their mission is to destroy conservatives. Can we just make C-SPAN's Brian Lamb the permanent debate moderator?
Second question: How do you get the Obama and Romney campaigns to agree on something? Name CNN's Candy Crowley as moderator and have her, against the guidelines for the debate, promise to be an active participant in the debate.
In an unusual departure from the normal hostility that exists between the Obama and Romney campaigns, both parties wholeheartedly agreed with the commission’s wish to avoid a repeat of what occurred four years ago. In 2008 NBC News’ Tom Brokaw moderated the town-hall session between Obama and Republican nominee John McCain, and the two campaigns and the organizers felt that Brokaw redirected the topics too severely from the audience queries and asked too many of his own questions, limiting the number of citizens who got a chance at the microphone.
The format for tomorrow's debate is supposed to mimic a townhall meeting. It will take place in front of 80 or so unaffiliated voters, selected by Gallup. The idea, endorsed by both Romney and Obama, is to have the candidates speak directly to, and take questions from, undecided voters. Its a good format.
Of course, Candy Crowley is a journalist and can't possibly deign to turn such important matters over to average Americans. Naturally, she has appointed herself as the grand arbiter of which questions get asked.
The 80 or so undecided voters chosen for Tuesday's event must submit their questions in advance and moderator Candy Crowley of CNN will decide which people to call on. She can pose her own follow-up questions.
So, not only will Crowley decide which issues are addressed, she will be asking her own questions too? Who appointed her mayor of this townhall?
Remember, this is the same Crowley who characterized the Romney-Ryan ticket, after the selection of Ryan as a running mate, as a "ticket death wish."
Can the media please stop trying to filter the information voters receive? They lost that power more than a decade ago. Even when they had that power, they allowed the voices of voters to break-through in the townhall format:
In 1992, questions weren't screened beforehand. Simpson walked through the audience Oprah-style and a producer signaled which person to talk to next, seeking a good demographic mix. She had no idea what each person might ask.
"They were not the questions the media had been focusing on," said Simpson, who now teaches journalism at Emerson College in Boston. "They were asking about bread-and-butter issues that they were interested in - the education in their schools, the crime in their neighborhoods, the economy and jobs."
Questions the media hadn't been focusing on? Imagine the concept! Imagine all of us soldiering on without the omnipotent wisdom of CNN's Crowley. My guess is you will have to remind yourself, tomorrow night, that Crowley is not in fact running for President. And is there any doubt, when her considerable personality weighs in, that she will do so to prop up Obama and corner Romney?
The media is in its dying days of relevancy. They know this, which is why they are becoming such active participants in these debates. They hope, if they yell loud enough, we will again pay attention to them. Those days are long past.
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