Thursday, April 17, 2008


ABC: Attack Barack Continuously

Last night's nationally-televised debate between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could not have been more of a disgrace and misuse of public airwaves had it been aired on FOX.

In fact, the vacuous, gossipy questioning by the usually likable and intelligent George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson were more akin to the sound bite-baiting tactics of a Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly. In fact, Stephanopoulos had appeared on one of Hannity's shows just the day earlier, and must have been taking notes. Most of the two hours of "debate" concerned itself with Obama's minister, his recent statements about frustrated Americans and whether he was or was not patriotic for not wearing a US flag pin.

It seemed as though ABC wished to paint a portrait of the Democratic primary campaigns as a smarmy mess of accusations, cross talk and affiliations with unsavory people. In that regard, they did a bang-up job. As for presenting the candidates' views on the issues of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, high gas prices, lost jobs, the mortgage and foreclosure disaster, foreign policy, the use of torture by the Bush administration and other important matters, ABC should pay a fine to the FCC.

Americans deserve better than what was offered by the network. They deserve a debate and primaries that present issues with which a prospective president will have to deal, not rehashed television-and-talk-show trash.

It was aggravating to have to watch and listen to question after dumbed-down question from the ABC interrogators. Both candidates tried to steer the debate away from the mundane to the real issues and should be praised for not losing their cool under such extremely stupid circumstances.

However, it would have been nice - as Obama nearly did to Stephanopoulos, saying one of his questions didn't "make sense" - to hear Obama answer with what was honestly on his mind. Something to the effect of, "If I thought wearing a US flag lapel pin everywhere I go would get me to the White House, I'd wear three of them."

Neither the candidates nor the voting public should have to be subjected to forums such the one ABC put forward last night. It was dull, moronic and trivial and has no place in American politics. We can only hope that ABC will learn a lesson from the commentaries which are certainly critical of their "debate" and get back to serious coverage of real issues affecting Americans.