WaPo Trump-hater dismayed by CNN's embarrassing lack of professionalism and showmanship in debate coverage
Last night, CNN disgraced itself with unprofessional behavior by its moderators and just plain dumb decisions on staging the event.
Don Lemon declared President Trump a bigot in a question directed at Senator Amy Klobuchar (who wisely refused to take the bait to label Trump voters bigots):
Senator Klobuchar, what do you say to those Trump voters who prioritize the economy over the president's bigotry?
Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg took on the elevation of moderators over the candidates:
Ten of the Democrats debated on Tuesday night. But the debate was dominated by Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Don Lemon — CNN's moderators. (snip)
It's not just that the time allocations were harsh. (The candidates were constantly being cut off, sometimes after being given all of 15 seconds to make their points.) And not just that the time allocation seemed somewhat arbitrary.
No, it was the questioning that really fell short — very, very short.
The CNN moderators, again and again, employed the very worst types of questions. One style that Tapper used repeatedly early on was interrupting to insist that the candidates stick to a portion of a topic that he found interesting (such as whether their health care plans would involve increases in taxes for the middle class) rather than what they wanted to talk about. The night also featured too many gotcha questions, in which a candidate is challenged about something they said. 1 But even worse was a constant theme of asking one candidate to fight with another. Candidate X, what do you think of Candidate Y's plan?
As far is showmanship is concerned, CNN fell shockingly flat. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, who desperately wants Trump defeated and has taken her Trump-hatred so seriously that she doesn't even identify as a conservative anymore, seemed dismayed by the way the failing cable net seemed to drive away viewers, squandering its crucial opening 25 minutes.
At the top of Tuesday's Democratic debate, CNN wasted 25 minutes by, among other things, playing the national anthem, taking a commercial, reciting the rules and introducing the candidates. It was time that should have been spent questioning candidates, and worse, pushed the debate into overtime beyond the 2½-hour mark. Likewise, spending valuable minutes asking candidates to explain why they are electable does nothing to enlighten voters about the views of these candidates. One has to wonder who made these bizarre choices and why.
President Trump ought to award the title "failing" to CNN rather than the New York Times. After all, the Gray Lady has enjoyed a surge of digital subscriptions by going all in on Trump-hatred. But CNN's ratings have plummeted with the failure of the Mueller/Weissmann report to deliver a plausible basis for impeachment.
If the DNC were smart, it would reverse its ban on Fox News offering a debate and ban CNN instead. But there's a better chance of me winning the Powerball lottery.