CNN set the stage at the Fox Theater in Detroit for a louder, sportscast-style bombast predicated on contrived conflict, styling the proceedings as a fight-night free-for-all as opposed to a substantive structured discussion.
The debates opened with the typical time wasted with over the top patriotic pomp, with rousing performances of the National Anthem and candidates stiffly smiling, hands to hearts for the camera. This was followed by a commercial break that in turn was followed by painful and forgettable, time-consuming opening statements.
CNN moderators Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, and Dana Bash interrupted and cut off responses trying to keep candidates within their speaking allotments of one minute to answer questions, 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals, and 15 additional seconds to respond to a moderator’s request for clarification.
Tapper later tries excuse themselves explaining that he, Bash and Lemon were there to ensure a fair debate and to attempt to guide the discussion, although this lame attempt on Tuesday resulted in moderators speaking over candidates before they could finish their statements and breezed by answers that could have used more examination.
The rules were strictly enforced until mid-way Wednesday night, or maybe they just gave in to the relentless verbal pounding beyond time limits that the candidates delivered again and again. Wednesday night contenders circumvented CNN’s restrictive methods in other ways too, such as by mounting specifically directed attacks — most of them directed at former Vice President Joe Biden — in order to force a counterattack.
Kamala Harris took a beating last night on her record as California’s attorney general, delivered by Russia favorite democrat Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who brought up her history of jailing people over marijuana violations and keeping inmates in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor. We say that because this attack was immediately amplified by Russian bots.
Little of what we saw ventured into the specifics of how well each candidate could explain or defend their positions on climate change, the topic CNN viewers wanted to hear about the most according to the cable news network’s own poll, followed by the economy and health care.
Viewers did hear arguments about the proposed health care plans candidates are putting forward, but mostly and mainly the argument portions of it; the numerical contrasts frequently descended into meaninglessness for everybody but the policy wonks.
The news is dominated by raised voices and nonsense seeded, watered and fertilized by the reality TV jerk occupying the Oval Office. It was like CNN staged this to please Trump and his followers. Maybe the answer isn’t staging fight night. Fights typically result in winners, but nobody walks away unscathed from this kind of contrived Donnie brook. But that’s what CNN promised viewers: “a fight for the heart of the Democratic party” on Tuesday and a “critical rematch” between Harris and Biden on Wednesday.
They framed many of their questions from right-wing talking points much to Trump’s glee, for example when Lemon described former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro’s immigration policy as welcoming “open borders.”
“Open borders is a right-wing talking point, and frankly I’m disappointed that some folks, including some folks on this stage, have taken the bait,” Castro gamely replied. And he wasn’t alone in pointing out CNN’s leading — some might say goading — lines of questioning. On Tuesday night Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each called the moderators on asking questions predicated on Republican talking points.
“The person that’s enjoying this debate most right now is Donald Trump, as we pit Democrats against each other, while he is working right now to take away Americans’ health care,” Booker said.
And Wednesday’s candidates weren’t the only ones to push back against bad format choices like this. When asked about raising his hand on a border security issue in previous debates, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg pointed out, “These ‘show of hands’ are exactly what is wrong with the way that this race is being covered,” he said.
“Well, we’re not doing that here,” Bash replied. And it’s true, CNN didn’t do that. This was a waste of time for Democratic voters who really didn’t learn much of anything useful about the candidates. Mostly this just created talking points and memes for Trump and the Republicans.
From watching on CNN & article in Raw Story