Friday, April 18, 2008

James Fallows: ABC Debate was "Bear Baiting"

James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly on ABC's debate:
I want to use this moment at the computer to address the unspeakable ABC bear-baiting debate last night. I haven't read what anyone has said about this -- except for Tom Shales of the Washington Post. He said that what Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos did last night was "shoddy and despicable." I completely agree and add only these grace notes ***

Whatever else happens the next time we choose a president, there has got to be a better way to see candidates operate under pressure than the grotesque system that has metastasized during this electoral cycle. It makes candidates into mere props for bullying anchormen-narcissists. It does no one except the anchormen any good. ***

Maybe the RNC and the DNC can join hands in freeing political debate from the destructive grip of the networks. And if they can't do that, maybe we should just go all the way and have the candidates compete eating pails full of maggots on Fear Factor.

That's the logical extension of where we're headed.
Fallows' post also reminds us why George Stephanopoulos oughtta know better; and includes a very relevant passage from Fallows' 1996 Atlantic article "Why Americans Hate the Media," which Fallows says, 'bears on exactly this kind of mindless "what about the flag pin?" haranguing.'

1 comment:

rastewart said...

Well, we certainly won't see the RNC in that handjoining love fest. This is exactly the kind of degraded public discourse that has kept the Republican Party in power with few interruptions for a generation, their grip seemingly tightening as their policies ever more nakedly benefit a tiny elite at the expense of everyone else. Remember the old lawyer's dictum: "When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you argue the law. When the law and the facts are both against you, pound the table ... and talk about lapel pins."

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