Editorial: A stark contrast to GOP
In watching the second GOP presidential debate last week, it’s important to note that this is a media-driven primary debate sponsored and hosted mostly by Fox News. The format does not follow the presidential debates. In short, the format is driven by and for television ratings and the dollars that produces.
The reason CNN can drag on the debates for three and a half hours is that ratings were high; therefore, advertising revenues were high. And as long as the questions were provocative and the hosts generated responses that were combative — like any popular reality television programming — the results were exactly what the media companies wanted.
So, criticize the CNN hosts for their tactics and questions all you want, but you miss the point if you don’t first understand these debates are for entertainment and ratings, not news value and certainly not designed to bring out the best in the candidates.
That said, the performance by the candidates was universally embarrassing. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the most well-rounded and reasonable; Carly Fiorina proved herself a worthy combatant to Donald Trump’s bluster; Sen. Marco Rubio was articulate, though borderline militant; and Sen. Rand Paul was remarkably rational when stacked up against the others. But, overall, it was a pathetic display that can’t be good for the GOP brand.
Contrast that to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 30-minute speech the few days prior to the debate as he challenged 13,000 students at Liberty University, the home of the late Evangelical Pastor Jerry Falwell Sr., to rethink their definitions of morality and justice as Christians. It was a respectful exchange on important issues that recognized profound differences in their perspectives, while seeking to find common ground on vital issues like childhood poverty.
If you haven’t seen Sanders speech and his Q&A with the university’s moderator, take the time to view it. It’s as refreshing a political exchange as the GOP debate was disappointing.
Angelo S. Lynn