Thursday, April 17, 2008

unDebate in Philly

The worst debate I've ever seen. The most pathetic line of questioning ever. Charlie Gibson and George Stephanapoulos should be ashamed of themselves. I thought Barack Obama did as good a job as possible, given superficiality of the questions. The moderators should feel lucky he didn't call them out more directly or more angrily. I wanted to jump into the television. You're going to bring up the weather underground? Where did that come from? Really? Fuck off.

Here is an open letter from Will Bunch that is truly impressive and sums up what I imagine many progressives feel.



bayoustjohndavid said...

I agree completely, but the elitist schmuck you refer to would have a lot more credibility if he had been as outraged when Tim Russert and Brian Williams pulled the same number on Clinton back when it was a multi-candidate race. It's a simple point, if people like Bunch don't expose that kind of press behavior when it happens to people they don't like, their opposition will seem somewhat subjective when it happens to people they do like.

Mark said...

For the first hour of the "debate" I was completely frustrated with every question. Obama was justified in directly criticizing toward his interrogators, and I hope the American people are as fed up as Obama (and Bunch) are with this charade.

By the time the second hour rolled around, I was so happy to hear questions that actually contained content that I barely noticed that they weren't relevant to the vast majority of Pennsylvanians. Bunch, however, reminded me that even the part of the "debate" that might have been germane instead contained topics that interested Gibbs and few others.

To Bayoustjohndavid:

First, Bunch is a reporter for a Philadelphia Newspaper and he is a Philadelphia Blogger. He was responding to a debate that was supposed to pertain to Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians specifically. I do not think he should have given equal time to other debates, given that they were held in other States. Furthermore, he shows little preference between the candidates; rather, his ire is aimed at the broadcasters. Both Obama and Clinton suffered the idignity of their questions. If he seemed to favor Obama, it's only because Gibbs and Stephanopolous chided him more.

Second, how can you call Bunch an "elitist" when he is specifically advocating for questions that are relevant for common people, as opposed to those about the capital gains tax? I wasn't aware that one of the definitions for "elitist" was "interested in topics that affect lower, lower-middle, and middle class Americans."

E said...

Yeah, bsjd, not to be a linguistic stickler, but applying the term elitist to a daily news beat writer is kind of ironic given the current silly season media orgasm occurring all over that page in the dictionary lately.

What's your beef with Will Bunch?

He's a pretty f'n good progressive blogger.

I will say that you're totally right about Tim Russert and Brian Williams. They were also awful. Blogs chastised them at the time as well, both Obama and Clinton supporters.

Puddinhead said...

Geez, bayoustjohndavid....How dare you doubt the divine perfection of Obama?

Sheesh.....can't you tell that the people who haven't yet accepted Obama fully into their hearts as their savior are simply uneducated, uninformed, or unintelligent?

Mark said...

Way to miss the point entirely puddinhead...

bayoustjohndavid said...

I've searched and searched and can't find a working link to a Will Bunch post that set me off last month, he wrote it after Ferraro's first comment, but before she dug her hole deeper. He even admitted that a small market California newspaper was an unlikely place to blow a dog whistle, but he went right ahead with the "dog whistle" meme. Elitists like Bunch probably understand that most people, maybe even themselves, are somewhat prejudiced, but they simply don't know know what to do with that concept. The same person that might recoil at overt racial prejudice, might also recoil at overblown charges of racism. If I were betting, I'd say that calling people "Archie Bunkers" wouldn't appeal to their better angels, but that's exactly what Bunch did. That's also what I meant when I said that Will Bunch and Keith Olbermann might as well be on the RNC payroll.

BTW, if you portray vast segments of the populationa as "Bubbas" and "Bunkers," you qualify as an elitist. I will say that I've seen that more from Clintons-haters in the media than from the Obama campaign.

E, I searched through the archives of big liberal bloggers, you can't find nearly the outrage on 10/31 of last year as you could find today. The most frequently linked post was a take down of Tim Russert, but that wasn't specific to the debate. To be fair, it's not quite an apples to apples comparison. The only really inane question was the UFO question that somebody asked Richardson. However, a lot of the liberal reaction was to accuse Richardson of campaigning to be Clinton's veep, because he was the only person who called foul -- kind of funny, considering. Also, I found no criticism of Obama or Edwards for taking advantage of the one-sided nature of the questioning, I guess there hasn't been that much criticism of Clinton for it today.

Finally, Bunch has shown an anti-Clinton bias weeks -- unfortunately the archives are limited. It's fine that he has a preference, but the absurd half-assed racism charges weren't -- they were made long before S. Carolina; even there, I think they were debatable. I would also expect a journalist/blogger to know more about sourcing than to make a common blogger mistake -- giving a corroborating link that doesn't exactly corroborate. In this post he claims that the Clinton campaign did something, but the cooroborating link is to an article in which the Obama campaign asserts that the Clinton campaign did something. In other posts, he willfully distorted Clinton's Sixty Minutes interview.

E said...

I was referring to outrage over Tim Russert's questioning on the 2/26 debate in Cleveland. A search on that debate reveals significant outrage. (Although much of that has to do with Russert's dubious attempt to connect Senator Obama to Mr. Farrakhan.)

I guess I see your points about Mr. Bunch.

I still believe that the sham put on two nights ago by ABC was by far the most egregious example of a media strategy to perpetuate this contest by trying to score points on flimsy political missteps. The Bosnia question was just as flimsy as the Wright question.

Please don't let your anger at Mr. Bunch's past use of questionable generalized terms for voting blocs cloud your ability to appreciate his work. He is a fine blogger that raises interesting issues and makes compelling connections. He's no Josh Marshall (who also excoriated Gibsonapoulis) but he has a worthwhile perspective that you shouldn't be so dismissive of just because he's a pro-Obama blogger or an anti-Hillary blogger or whatever.

I'd be happy to point you to what I've found to be some of Mr. Bunch's most helpful pieces if you'd like.

But this isn't a discussion about Mr. Bunch.

The fact remains that the debate in Philadelphia was an embarrassing display of everything that is and has been wrong with American political discourse in the Television Age.