Posted by Thomas Nephew on September 28th, 2008
A side note: I also joined many hundreds of others in “rating the debate” for an initiative by the FreePress.Net organization, which set up a questionnaire for participants to rate the media — in this case, Jim Lehrer — on his performance. The idea, at least in part, is to try to discourage the kind of farce that Stephanopolous and Gibson staged with Obama and Clinton before the Pennsylvania primary.
In that regard, I think that on the whole Lehrer was sensible and constructive, and did not come anywhere near the lows of the primary season (see the video below, by MediaMatters.org).
I do think Lehrer was noticeably less deferential to Obama than to McCain, though. First, he all but hectored Obama twice to address McCain directly (“say it directly to him”). Even though he then at least said “I’m just determined to get you all to talk to each other. I’m going to try,” he then did not demand the same of McCain, at least not as baldly or memorably. Second, he was far more persistent in demanding Obama confess which of his programs would be dropped in view of the huge bailout price tag — despite Obama’s reasonable answer (assuming the premise had to be granted) that his response would be not to drop programs but phase them in more slowly.
But to be clear, I’m not interested in making a federal case of that — just in trying to do my part as one citizen media watchdog.
“Rate the Debates” will set up online rating systems for each of the next three debates as well; consider joining in.