Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

April 16, 2008

Shame on You, ABC

What a travesty. Tonight's Democratic debate was the height of tabloid journalism. Who supplied the regurgitated nonsense, the GOP? So much for the fourth estate.

Gibson, Stephanopoulos and the whole ABC news team should be ashamed of themselves. And judging by the 10,500+ (and counting) comments on the ABC News web site, many agree. A sample:

So, this is the ABC version of "Fiddling While Rome Burns"? Our economy is in the toilet. Our planet is dying. Our soldiers are dying..in an illegitimate war. And ABC thinks the electorate wants to hear, instead, about flag pins (made in China by slave labor) and the fact that Obama knew somebody who did something naughty when he was eight years old? My father was a journalist. My mother was a journalist. YOU, ABC, are a disgrace to the profession. Peter Jennings must be crying in shame in his grave!

Posted by: BeckyLfromIowa 12:47 AM
If you're as disgusted with ABC News as I am, you can leave a comment here or call them at the main ABC switchboard at 212-456-7777 or at 818-460-7477 (press 2, then 6, then 639).

Greg Mitchell's critique is spot on:

In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent "bitter" gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin -- while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.
As if to prove his point David Brooks at the Times said this:

I understand the complaints, but I thought the questions were excellent. The journalist’s job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities...

We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall...
Brooks is emblematic of our elitist talking heads who, as usual, are clueless and out of touch with real, everyday Americans.

No David, we don't care about gotcha politics. And "making politicians uncomfortable" isn't your job. The media's job, especially during elections and political debates, is to set the stage for relevant information to be disseminated to the electorate so it can make a wise decision. If you and your peers would rather wallow in the muck, you should resign en masse and write for the National Enquirer.

Will Bunch, himself a journalist and Philly native, can hardly contain his disgust:

Quickly, a word to any and all of my fellow journalists who happen to read this open letter. This. Must . Stop. Tonight, if possible. I thought that we had hit rock bottom in March 2003, when we failed to ask the tough questions in the run-up to the Iraq war. But this feels even lower. We need to pick ourselves up, right now, and start doing our job -- to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of what voters really need to know, and how we get there, that's it's not all horserace and "gotcha." Although, to be blunt, I would also urge the major candidates in 2012 to agree only to debates that are organized by the League of Women Voters, with citizen moderators and questioners. Because we have proven without a doubt in 2008 that working journalists don't deserve to be the debate "deciders."
Yes, the news media continues to fail us, still abjudicating its duty with no remorse or shame, even after facilitating an unjust war.

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posted at 10:07 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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