The reviews are in, last night's ABC debate was disgraceful:
All night long, every time I'd think about the ABC "debate" (sic), three reactions rose up - 1) grind my teeth to an angry pulp, 2) let my head explode, or 3) type something to let the steam out.
This morning, I still can't believe I was able to make it through 45 minutes of the broadcast.
This was topflight journalism at its worst. This was ABC's old, flimsy history with threadbare sizzle packaged as news. It was a tabloid debate with tabloid questions. Matt Drudge come to life on a respectable stage. From what I subsequently discovered, they actually, eventually got around to real issues - after over an hour. But watching it for a mere 45 minutes made me feel almost seedy. I wanted to shower to get the smarm off. I love news, I admire professional journalists, I cherish the Mainstream Media, even when they flounder, because it is the core of democracy. But this was embarrassing. This was pathetic. This was just a cheesy press conference with cheesy questions.
Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos should be ashamed. I'm sure they have all of their reasons wrapped nicely with a bow, explaining why they asked what they asked and why it was proper and good and noble. Sorry, it wasn't. They put this on in prime time across the nation, and turned it into a slimy, Fox Network reality show. A cross between "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?" and "Temptation Island." Something like, "So, You Want to Be President?!"
This was a disservice to America
Here's another view from the Huffington Post:
In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent "bitter" gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin -- while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.
Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former '60s radical -- a question that came out of rightwing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but was delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopolous. This approach led to a claim that Clinton's husband pardoned two other '60s radicals. And so on. The travesty continued.