I did not watch the now (in)famous CNN YouTube Debate. I’ve seen several of the shorts of what people thought were particularly bad and good moments of the debate, and I cannot shake the feeling that this attempt at de-scripting what is traditionally a very scripted process was little more than one more attempt at political theatre. It was a meeting of the Reality TV-obsessed culture with American politics. And as with Reality TV, the attempt at bringing meaning and significance failed astoundingly.
Who in their right minds thinks that CNN had any goals of balance in the selecting of the questions aired on this debate? [cricket noises]
Who thinks that when choosing the video questions for the Republican candidates they will include even half the number of softball fluff piece questions as they did for the Democrats? [cricket noises]
I don’t believe that Mr. Romney’s argument that this violates presidential decorum is particularly effective, there are ways a populist debate could be held that would not only honor the level of this office but also present the American people, and not just the egocentric snowmen and sock puppets, a chance to submit real questions.
The main stream media have abdicated the throne of impartial honesty and it would seem that taken as a whole, the blogging community has begun to usurp the joining throne of popular trust. What we should have are debates online, either video or written, where the top five blogs from either sector of the political continuum mediate questions and host the forum. The bloggers would be responsible for the content of the questions. We already know where each of the bloggers stand based on their history. There is no lying veil of impartiality, instead there are no unknowns. We know who and what they are. We judge their questions based on what they’ve said in the past. This will result in a much more accurate and honest question system.
There is no such thing as impartiality today. CNN is the joke of the Honesty Dept. I don’t blame any candidate who refuses to walk on to that particular stage. But we still need debate. The form and the structure of a debate are useful for comparing differing viewpoints.
I don’t believe that bloggers hold enough power to be able to make a major national occurrence of this yet. Maybe next cycle. But either way, we need to start planning now.