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4/17/08 11:07 AM
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many anchovies
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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In Pa. Debate, The Clear Loser Is ABC



When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

The fact is, cable networks CNN and MSNBC both did better jobs with earlier candidate debates. Also, neither of those cable networks, if memory serves, rushed to a commercial break just five minutes into the proceedings, after giving each candidate a tiny, token moment to make an opening statement. Cable news is indeed taking over from network news, and merely by being competent.

Gibson sat there peering down at the candidates over glasses perched on the end of his nose, looking prosecutorial and at times portraying himself as a spokesman for the working class. Blunderingly he addressed an early question, about whether each would be willing to serve as the other's running mate, "to both of you," which is simple ineptitude or bad manners. It was his job to indicate which candidate should answer first. When, understandably, both waited politely for the other to talk, Gibson said snidely, "Don't all speak at once."

For that matter, the running-mate question that Gibson made such a big deal over was decidedly not a big deal -- especially since Wolf Blitzer asked it during a previous debate televised and produced by CNN.

The boyish Stephanopoulos, who has done wonders with the network's Sunday morning hour, "This Week" (as, indeed, has Gibson with the nightly "World News"), looked like an overly ambitious intern helping out at a subcommittee hearing, digging through notes for something smart-alecky and slimy. He came up with such tired tripe as a charge that Obama once associated with a nutty bomb-throwing anarchist. That was "40 years ago, when I was 8 years old," Obama said with exasperation.

Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to "take one statement and beat it to death," he said.

No sooner was that said than Gibson brought up, yet again, the controversial ravings of the pastor at a church attended by Obama. "Charlie, I've discussed this," he said, and indeed he has, ad infinitum. If he tried to avoid repeating himself when clarifying his position, the networks would accuse him of changing his story, or changing his tune, or some other baloney.

This is precisely what has happened with widely reported comments that Obama made about working-class people "clinging" to religion and guns during these times of cynicism about their federal government.

"It's not the first time I made a misstatement that was mangled up, and it won't be the last," said Obama, with refreshing candor. But candor is dangerous in a national campaign, what with network newsniks waiting for mistakes or foul-ups like dogs panting for treats after performing a trick. The networks' trick is covering an election with as little emphasis on issues as possible, then blaming everyone else for failing to focus on "the issues."

Some news may have come out of the debate (ABC News will pretend it did a great job on today's edition of its soppy, soap-operatic "Good Morning America"). Asked point-blank if she thought Obama could defeat presumptive Republican contender John McCain in the general election, Clinton said, "Yes, yes, yes," in apparent contrast to previous remarks in which she reportedly told other Democrats that Obama could never win. And in turn, Obama said that Clinton could "absolutely" win against McCain.

To this observer, ABC's coverage seemed slanted against Obama. The director cut several times to reaction shots of such Clinton supporters as her daughter, Chelsea, who sat in the audience at the Kimmel Theater in Philly's National Constitution Center. Obama supporters did not get equal screen time, giving the impression that there weren't any in the hall. The director also clumsily chose to pan the audience at the very start of the debate, when the candidates made their opening statements, so Obama and Clinton were barely seen before the first commercial break.

At the end, Gibson pompously thanked the candidates -- or was he really patting himself on the back? -- for "what I think has been a fascinating debate." He's entitled to his opinion, but the most fascinating aspect was waiting to see how low he and Stephanopoulos would go, and then being appalled at the answer. 

4/17/08 11:19 AM
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Rali
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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Obama has a great way of making dumb press people look even more stupid.
4/17/08 11:22 AM
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Brendasu
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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NUCCA will you please learn how to spell "BREATH"  . . . GOD DAMN! You post the same shit on every thread and you spell it wrong every TIME!


 

4/17/08 11:24 AM
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Brendasu
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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there is no "D"!


4/17/08 11:24 AM
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Up With Evil
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"For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with." That's what I find so amazingly irksome - this sort of petty high-school smirkfest from the media is what brought America 8 years of Emperor Dipshit, "the candidate who you'd want to have a beer with". Obviously fabulously wealthy men like Gibson and Stephanopoulos appreciate the added income they've retained as a result of the Emperor's deficit-bloating tax cuts, but is that really enough for the media to completely ignore any lessons gained from the last two presidential elections?
4/17/08 11:25 AM
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jason hornbuckle
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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so funny how the press has been incredibly biased FOR Obama this whole time and Obama supporters have been fine with it, but you get one night where it goes the other way and they're ready to riot
4/17/08 11:26 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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I didn't even watch it

I just wish this shit was over now.
4/17/08 11:28 AM
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angryinch
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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what message of hope and change? that's all he says. He puts no substance behind the message. Hell, I could go on tv ranting about howmuch we need hope and change. Would that qualify me to be president? Exactly what change is he talking about?
4/17/08 11:31 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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Tax cuts for the middle class and undoing Bush's "tax cuts for the wealthy". There's one.

Pay attention, AI.
4/17/08 11:32 AM
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angryinch
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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" Tax cuts for the middle class and undoing Bush's "tax cuts for the wealthy". There's one. Pay attention, AI." sorry, was busy watching american idol. You know, the important things!!
4/17/08 11:33 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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He plans on removing troops form Iraq ASAP.

There's two.
4/17/08 11:35 AM
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PatK
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 Hey, according to his ads running here he is going to enact  protectionary, pro-growth, pro-manufacturing legislation to help the economy.

You know, the exact same legislation that he's voted against since he's been in Congress.

 

4/17/08 11:35 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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HombreMurcielago - ^ lol, more like penalizing hard workers to help the lazy
I'm not saying I agree, just mentioning something more specific than "hope and change".
4/17/08 11:39 AM
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Up With Evil
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[quote]angryinch - what message of hope and change? that's all he says. He puts no substance behind the message. Hell, I could go on tv ranting about howmuch we need hope and change. Would that qualify me to be president? Exactly what change is he talking about?[/quote] 

Well we'd need to get down to the important details - are you a uniter, or a divider?  Are you a reformer with results?  A new kind of politician?  Has Jesus changed your heart? 

4/17/08 11:52 AM
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mteub
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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"bush tax cut for the wealthy"...my god you are an ignorant twat....
4/17/08 11:54 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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That phrase is in quotes for a reason, mteub.
4/17/08 11:55 AM
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Trust
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PatK - 

 Hey, according to his ads running here he is going to enact  protectionary, pro-growth, pro-manufacturing legislation to help the economy.

You know, the exact same legislation that he's voted against since he's been in Congress.

 

Not to mention his commitment to bipartisanship...
 

4/17/08 11:56 AM
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jason hornbuckle
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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"He plans on removing troops form Iraq ASAP." so does Bush. people just have different ideas of what "as soon as possible" means i'd like to hear exactly how fast Obama would bring these guys home
4/17/08 11:56 AM
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mteub
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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hey man i'm trying to "bing back" twat...a little help please.....
4/17/08 11:56 AM
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Daredevil73
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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rufus - 

 Wah!  They're asking Obama tough questions!  Wah!  Not fair!!!  LOL


 LOL, that was more or less the gist of it.

4/17/08 11:57 AM
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Steve72
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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He claimed within 16 months.
4/17/08 11:58 AM
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Shawn C
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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jason hornbuckle - "He plans on removing troops form Iraq ASAP."

so does Bush. people just have different ideas of what "as soon as possible" means

i'd like to hear exactly how fast Obama would bring these guys home
I keep hearing 16 months.

The point is specifics, not what he's saying.
4/17/08 11:59 AM
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SAMIWAS
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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Will he be able to copyright "HNIC" when he wins? I mean cause then there is no disputing who owns the rights to that acronym...lol.
4/17/08 12:02 PM
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jason hornbuckle
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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"The point is specifics, not what he's saying." i don't even know what that means I wonder what the Democratic reaction would be if Bush said we'd be out of Iraq in 16 months? "that's too long!" is my guess
4/17/08 12:02 PM
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mteub
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Edited: Apr 17 2008 12:00A
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an educated guess would be 2 years minumum fro a 100% troop withdrawl from iraq.....3-3.5 would be a better timeframe though.......

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