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                                       politics + culture

Thursday, April 17, 2008

David Brooks on the ABC/Disney debate debacle

David Brooks, "No Whining About the Media," thinks that criticizing ABC's conduct in last night's debate debacle on ABC is "whining."

I disagree and cast my lot with this comment maker:

Anyone who was paying attention when Stephanopoulos asked Obama “Does Rev. Wright love America as much as you?” would not be praising ABC for its journalistic integrity. The country has gone through almost 8 years of that sort of jingoist rhetoric and it is the very jingoism that many in the press have fought against.

Asking questions crafted so as to make it impossible for a candidate to give an satisfactory response (”Oh you don’t love America more than Rev. Wright?!” vs. “So you’re saying that Rev. Wright doesn’t love America?…”) is not good journalism. It is repugnant to the idea of having a reasoned debate over the vital issues facing our country and it is thoroughly republican (and I use “republican” pejoratively).

— Posted by Alex

Ultimately, that debate was a disgrace to America. Questions about flag lapel pins? Charlie Gibson echoing GOP talking points with every policy question?

To the millions of Americans who've participated in this historic Democratic nomination campaign, giving money and time and going to the polls in record numbers, this debate was the ultimate disservice.

To Americans facing foreclosure, to our troops in Iraq, to those wounded veterans who've returned to inadequate treatment at Walter Reed, to the citizens of New Orleans, and to those who care about how our Constitution was circumvented to allow for the torture of prisoners last night's ABC was an abject failure.

After watching Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos snidely attack Barack Obama...and Hillary Clinton relentlessly and cynically pile on...it's hard not to think this biggest loser in the extended primary is the culture of our democracy itself.

As a side note, it's pretty clear the folks at Disney have no interest in Democrats going to their theme parks. If ABC News, a division of Disney, is not a paid wing of the Republican Party, it certainly acts like one.

Disney, clearly, could give two hoots about Democrats. Maybe they will care a bit more when folks stop giving them their business.


  • It's also too bad that this kind of questioning actually persuades people. Political debates have degenerated into huge wastes of time that focus on a small number of people who hold essentially the same views debating the minutiae of pins and pastors, while ignoring any issue of substance.

    Neither of which have anything to do with actual policies. Bread and circuses is mostly all Americans want. Debates (using the term loosely) like that were the worst form of circus.

    By Anonymous foreclosurefish, at 9:32 AM  

  • "I want to know if you believe in the American flag" is the new lowest point in this campaign.

    Is it elitist to say that was the dumbest question ever? I mean, sure, it was asked by one of the "regular folk" but it was approved and chosen and queued up by the debate moderators.

    Could that question have less actual meaning?

    By Blogger jiminy jilliker, at 10:33 AM  

  • I think Disney is dangerously fascist. They knew exactly what they were doing with this debate - but they probably did not expect it to backfire as it did.

    By Blogger Indeterminacy, at 4:19 AM  

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