aNewDomain — Ah, the Republican debates.
I was troubled that Fox was given responsibility for this important forum. Fox is a conservative media outlet that always has axes to grind, and clear, explicit aims and motivations its hosts are always willing to show. There’s bias subtle and overt, half-truths and even lies.
That’s why Fox just isn’t who I want in charge of my debates, or involved in any way in our electoral process. It’s fine to have opinions and exercise your free speech, but it’s the opposite of fine to do so when you’re passing those opinions along under the guise of reporting the news. It fools people. Probably confuses them, too.
But Fox wasn’t soft in the event. Not at all. And the debate hosts, Chris Wallace and crew, were suprisingly rough on these candidates. It’s proof Fox doesn’t suck that bad. At least not always.
See what I mean?
Chris Wallace was really strong in the debate show. The host, pictured at right, was forthright about candidates who failed to answer the questions as they were asked.
This is why I quit watching Meet the Press after Tim Russert died, you know.
I was so tired of David Gregory just letting Meet the Press guests say whatever they wanted; he never called them out for wandering off-topic and he let them all use the show as a distribution center for their talking points.
But in the Republican debates, which aired on Fox last week, Wallace was happy to at least cut away to another candidate when the candidate wandered or seem obfuscate, saying“Let’s see if we have better luck with him.”
The Fox team hit everyone for their failures.
Scott Walker, for example, overpromised in his election races for governor. How can we trust him when he promises growth if we elect him president?
The Donald makes claims about his wealth; But what about all those bankruptcies? Good question. Jeb Bush claims a pro-life ethic but what about all that business he’s done with Planned Parenthood?
When it comes time for the Democratic debates, I hope to see questions just as good and just as hard. I want to see Clinton and Sanders answer for their failings and inconsistencies.
Of course there was still bias in the debate ..
Some Fox bias still surfaced in the debate, but that was a bias toward what Republican voters tend to care about. Who better than Fox to grill them on these topics, topics Fox News tells them day in and day out to care about.
So it’s a border fence, illegal immigration, the Iran deal, Planned Parenthood, ISIS, you get the ideas. Nothing about climate change.
It’s hard to imagine that any other venue would have emphasized these issues to the extent that Fox did. And no, the fact that some of the questions came from social media is not germane …
The viewer questions were on issues the panel wanted to ask anyway. They had thousands of questions to choose from and probably picked those that weren’t representative of what the Fox audience cares about.
They didn’t pick any of the questions I submitted, naturally — that was: “Are you crazy, stupid or evil?”
Then again, such a direct question doesn’t leave much room for those trouble-dodging applause lines.
But any way you look at it, there were still tough questions there — and less than usual tolerance for evasions.
Maybe the only way to do better was to let MSNBC moderate the Republican debates and let Fox host the Democratic ones.
I mean, ideally our news is politically neutral to begin with. So, given an adversarial system of reporting, let’s use it for the most good.
If your Democratic candidates can’t stand up to Fox moderators, and your GOP ones can’t stand up to serious inquiry by MSNBC ones, what good are they really?
That’s the job of news: to get at the truth, adversarially if necessary. For a long time now we’ve had carefully managed press, relationships with publicists for candidates and officials. If you go along and get along, you get a spot on the tour bus. If not, well…
The Donald is mad, I guess, about how the debate went. But he and all the candidates ought to be grateful. It was a hard debate, with tough-minded questions — and, surprisingly, only a few softballs.
In recent years, at this point in the election process they’d be out in Idaho or someplace, tying to buy votes in meaningless straw polls with fried food and country music. But here, we’re getting a good look at candidates’ actual ability to withstand scrutiny.
It’s all for a friendly audience, to be sure. The way out of any trouble is to shoot the audience an applause line, and then wait for the hooting to die down. But, for a primary pool frequently criticized for a lack of vetting – maybe this is the real reason McCain lost to Obama in 2008 and why Palin was unleashed on the world – this debate was a real shot in the arm.
It was imperfect, of course, but it sure rose far above expectations.
Probably the worst, most pandering part of the Republican debate on Fox was the God question. But you can’t have everything.
It’s like freestyle at a swim meet. Of course you can swim any way you want – but everyone breast-strokes because it’s the most efficient. Think of this part of the debate as the freestyle pander, or the flex-off at the end of a body-building contest.
On the whole, and I only say this very, very rarely: good job, Fox “News”.
I never thought I’d ever have proof that Fox doesn’t suck that much, but there you have it.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias and I am not running for president. You’re welcome.