This is classic, and absolutely hilarious.
23/6.com has posted this video that condenses Wednesday's "debate" into one minute of sheer nonsense (instead of the 90 minutes of sheer nonsense that it in fact was).
After sludging through that pseudo-journalistic ambush and reading scads and scads of analysis (I measured them: there were at least 4,000 scads...honest!), I needed someone to put the whole thing in its simplest possible perspective.
And here is a link to the aforementioned perspective:
This week and this campaign reached a real nadir (and I don't mean Ralph, a Nader whose Nadir came in 2000) on Wednesday night. When respected journalists like Gibson team up with wannabes like Stephanopolous to rig a debate on a major network into an extension of the tabloid-style press coverage we've sadly grown used to, it is not merely politics as we know it that needs to change. Political coverage as we have come to know it needs to change too.
When did it become de rigueur for journalists, like stereotypical politicians, to pander to the lowest common denominator in their viewership? I try to imagine Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley presiding over a sham like Wednesday's debate and the images just won't come. When the "Compassion Forum," which featured questions about personal religious matters, ended up revealing more of substance than the major network political debate a few days later, something has gone considerbaly wrong.
Still, as Julian E. Zelizer pointed out this week, perhaps it is not all the fault of the media.
Voters have been guilty as well. The problem is not just the media or the political process. Public interest in politics has steadily declined since the nineteenth century when turnout in presidential elections averaged almost 80 percent and 60 to 80 percent for nonpresidential year elections. Election day was a major public event akin to entertainment. People vote less, their attachment to political institutions has declined, and their distrust in politicians has grown. Americans are more interested in American Idol than American presidents. They're not asking for much substance.
(See his entire diary here.)
I don't know what we as a nation deserve. I just wish we were getting something better than what we've been getting lately.
Fortunately for us all, there are Jon Stewart and Stphen Colbert. Colbert's Thursday show, featuring Clinton, Obama, Representative Pat Murphy, and John Edwards in a hilarious "EdWørds" segment, was probably his finest ever. And the week, capped by Obama's phenomenal rally in Philadelphia last night, drew to a close in a better fashion than it had begun.
Maybe Tuesday will end better than we expect as well.