Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debate atrocity

Compare and contrast last night's debate to the Oct. 30, 2007, debate in which, to quote Bob Somerby, "Two of Jack Welch’s most famous 'Lost Boys' had been banging away at Candidate Clinton for about forty minutes. . . much as they’d done with Candidate Gore just eight years before. . . Has there ever been a debate like this? A debate where the moderators so plainly intended to spend the evening trashing the character of one of the candidates?"

That one candidate was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now here's Atrios' reaction to last night's debate starting from the top with the latest to the earliest post at the bottom. Note the outrage over the "atrocity" (condensed depth-wise):

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Deep Thought
DC journalists are obsessed with serious policy issues.
-Atrios 23:20
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I've rewound the tivo 8 times and each time I hear Pat Buchanan saying:

I think Obama sounded very defensive when he talked about the cookies.

??? I've obviously missed something.
-Atrios 22:42
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NEW YORK In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate this year, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.

ABC Switchboard: 212-456-7777
-Atrios 22:28
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Switch to MSNBC
Keith not happy with debate.
...switching between Tivo tuners, Rendell is blasting the questions on the local ABC.
-Atrios 22:03
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Light'Em Up
Complain about this atrocity.
Main ABC switchboard: 212-456-7777
...complain here.
-Atrios 21:31
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So Stupid
..."Gibson and Stephanopoulos shame media, America". Indeed.
...My God. It gets worse and worse. Just move the whole thing to Fox.
-Atrios 21:01
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So Stupid
Aside from the lack of policy questions, so far this "debate" has been played entirely on wingnut ground. If BillO and Sean Hannity hosted it the questions would've been the same.

In a general election debate it would make sense to get questions from the right like that, but in a democratic primary it's just fucking stupid.

I hope I have a superpowered liver.

...53 minutes in, policy! Though corrupted by Charlie Gibson's dream of a military coup.
-Atrios 20:48
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So Stupid
29 minutes in, not one policy question.
...32 minutes in...
...35 minutes in...
...38 minutes in...
...41 minutes in...
-Atrios 20:29
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So Stupid
17 minutes in, no policy questions yet...
...West Coasters can watch here.
-Atrios 20:17
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Jeepers! Was he not happy or what?! Now begin here on Oct. 31, 2007, and see if you can detect any Eschaton outrage as you scan downward to and through Oct. 30, 2007, the day of the debates when Clinton was savaged by Russert and Williams.

Notice any? Even a hint of indignation at the stupidity of the inane and relentless interrogation of Hillary? I saw one post referring to Paul Waldman's critique of Russert on Oct. 30 and an Oct. 31 remark: "Our very serious policy debate is driven by impotent racist old men." But that's the extent of the mighty Atrios wrath. Hmmm, curious, isn't it? Well, maybe he was too busy last October to pay much attention, and after all, it was frontrunner Hillary who was then getting Gore-d. Now that the primary has arrived in his neck of the woods with Obama in the lead, last night's debate was an atrocity!

Of special note: Bob Somerby observed of Tim Russert during the Oct. 30, 2007 debate:

Russert was rather slick all night, as has long been his wont. His July 2000 Meet the Press with Candidate Gore remains the most disgraceful hour we’ve ever seen a broadcaster offer. That same year, his gruesome work in the Clinton-Lazio debate was recalled by Media Matters, just yesterday. Yes, he was playing some slick/silly games with about “recent” statement by Kennedy. And yes, he let Clinton’s opponents play fast and loose with the truth (examples below). But at last, the gentleman couldn’t help it; on such occasions, it feels good to lie. Well, let’s scale back our language a bit: It feels good to play the voters for fools, knowing you’ll get a pass in the press—and, almost surely, on the web. Here’s a question the man from Buffalo asked mid-way through Tuesday’s witch-burning. As always, he was concerned about Clinton’s honesty. Just like Gore before her! [Emphasis added in bold.]

Our SCLM has discredited Clinton for a long, long time and her honesty was fodder in last night's debate pertaining to her low poll ratings. And no wonder they're low. The refs have been working this angle for ages. On the sniper fire story in Bosnia, she 'fessed up, said she was embarassed, and apologized. But you darn well know, the harangue won't stop. Pay no mind to the other pols who embellish. They're precious.

If you click the Somerby link, you can read further about the "examples below" that have little to do with "policy questions." A few relevant excerpts:

Russert’s concerns about “credibility” and “consistency” extended to no one but Clinton. In the night’s second question, Russert invited Edwards to orate about Clinton’s troubling “double-talk.” As he ended, Edwards misstated a fact. And Russert was happy to let him...


The agenda this night was to slime Clinton’s character, as Gore and Kerry were slimed before her. So Edwards was allowed to misstate. Meanwhile, when Obama was challenged, just one time, about his own “consistency,” high comedy quickly transpired...


...when Obama was asked to explain his change, he uttered one unintelligible sentence, then went right back to bashing Clinton for her lack of “straight talk.” But did Russert, so filled with concerns about credibility, ask his question again in his follow-up? Of course not! After Obama finished waxing about Clinton’s “convoluted answers”—thereby failing to answer Russert himself—the Head Raccoon offered this “follow-up:”


RUSSERT: But when asked by The New York Times whether Senator Clinton has been truthful, you said no.

OBAMA: What I said is that she has not been truthful and clear about this point that I just made...

Wouldn’t you know it? Obama completely avoided Tim’s question—but Tim was back to Clinton being untruthful by the time his answer was done! In that answer, by the way, Obama embarrassed his party again with this hopeless statement...

Read Somerby for the whole enchilada and the omitted snips.

The press, our wonderful liberal bloggers, and Democratic colleagues have bashed Clinton's credibility ad infinitum, but now that frontrunner Obama has been getting a taste of the sauce he's helped serve to the goose, oh, the squealing and the shrieking--Waah! Waah! Oh, the horror!--that's coming from the allegedly enlightened blogosphere. GMAFB. (via)

UPDATE: Bob Somerby today on our "hopeless" media: "In the real world, some questions are more equal than others. And some questions reflect the broken-souled culture of a broken, multimillionaire press corps. A press corps which our liberal journals have accepted, without a peep of complaint, for a good many years."

I've given up on expecting the media to behave un-assholish. Sure, we must protest and fight. But I have been extraordinarily surprised by the behavior of liberal bloggers toward Hillary Clinton. As far as the debates go, my gawd! Can we get the League of Women Voters to take over? The media can't be trusted.