Tom Brokaw

8 10 2008

I watched last night’s presidential debate hoping to learn more about each candidate’s plans for moving America forward and to get a better glimpse as to what each candidate stands for.

I was mostly disappointed. They stuck to predetermined lines and zingers that someone else probably wrote, they didn’t answer the questions that were presented to them, and beyond all that, I was bored out of my mind listening to them.

Consequently, as I replayed the event in my mind this morning, I found myself instead focusing on the peripherals.

First, someone should be fired for being allowed to choose Fire Engine Red for the color of the carpet in that debate hall. I couldn’t tell which was giving me more of a headache: listening to the candidates or shielding my eyes every time that bright, tacky carpet appeared on the screen. It disturbs me that there are even carpet companies out there manufacturing something so appalling. When the credit dries up (as we keep hearing it will), when small businesses aren’t able to get their loans and companies start dropping like flies, I propose the first business to go should be that carpet manufacturer. The company that made the Electric Blue paint that was used on the debate hall walls can be next. And the student committee who prepared that debate hall needs to be flunked promptly.

Second, did anyone else notice that they seemed to have arranged the audience by appearance? They referred to the parts of the room as “Section A” or “Section F,” but if you looked a little more closely, you noticed that there was the old people section, the bald men section, the conservative women section, the feminist women section, and even the junior-high debate team boys section. What was that about?

Third, who the hell thought it would be a good idea for Tom Brokaw to moderate this debate? I realize that the man is an award-winning journalist, but that fact alone does not a good moderator make. If he’d stuck to moderating, I might have been happier. But why, after every citizen-submitted question, did Mr. Brokaw get to ask a question of his own? Was that one of the “rules” that both candidates signed off on? Does his experience as a news anchor qualify him to think of our own questions better than we can think of them ourselves?

An indirect acquaintance of my wife was one of those present in the audience, and they ran out of time for him to ask his question. Thanks, Mr. Brokaw. I’m sure that your “discussion” questions were much more insightful and important, which must be why they trumped the questions of the others who were present last night.

Except he didn’t even stick to asking questions, his own or otherwise. Brokaw editorialized for a good thirty or forty seconds before asking each discussion question. Did he feel the need to take it upon himself to make sure the debate favored a specific candidate, or was he just trying to make them both look even more foolish? And what’s the point of calling it a discussion question? There was no discussion. Call it what it was: A Tom Brokaw Question.

It’s a sad commentary on a moderator when he does worse than Gwen Ifill, who, despite the fact that she’s already written a forthcoming book heaping praise on Obama, managed to pull off a relatively balanced debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

Mr. Brokaw, while respecting the lifetime of accomplishments you have hanging on the walls of your office, I think I speak for most Americans when I say that we’re more interested in hearing from our candidates during the debate, and if we want to hear your opinions, we’ll tune in to your own show after the debate.

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9 responses

8 10 2008
pennepasta

And where were the questions about ACORN, abortion, the supreme court, the treasury secretary (who’s now taking over the economy…!!!) ? Sheesh.

8 10 2008
Janna

I was at TNL – listening to Dave give a phenomenal (as usual) talk about St. Francis. And welcoming a good group of newbies at entro. It was a much more pleasant evening for me… miss you terribly.

8 10 2008
Emily Straw

He seriously drove me nuts! Then he tried to get all referee official on them when they went over time even though a lot of the questions really needed more than a minute to explain the answers. It was pretty much a waste. Oh well. The Office is on tomorrow, so I’m just happy that we get to watch something decent this week. And I agree with you that Heroes was horribly boring this week as well.

8 10 2008
tigerlilysandybanks

I can’t wait to see An American Carol. Finally, something on TV that is biased in the right (and I mean RIGHT) direction!

9 10 2008
justspeaz

Heroes jumped the shark 😦 I’m so sad to say it, but it did. I think it got wrecked with the writer’s strike last year…

Ha ha ha about being biased in the RIGHT direction. I do get a little tired of people picking on republicans ALL THE TIME, but, I’m sure democrats feel the same way…

9 10 2008
justspeaz

Oops, forgot to actually comment on the blog…

The carpet and the paint were HORRIBLE, now that I think about it they’re probably the reason that my eye is so swollen and horrible!

I actually appreciated that Tom was trying to keep them on their time limits. That was what they had agreed to in the first place, then that’s what they should stick to. I thought Obama’s comment about I’m just taking as much time as McCain was lame, he went way over his time when he was first too. I wish Tom would really have waved at McCain, because I started paying attention, and I don’t think he was watching the lights at all, but I don’t know how you could miss them.

9 10 2008
Granny

Bring back the ONLY man who knows how to do a debate or interview or whatever you call it – Rick Warren. Today I am looking up Ron Paul, just as my son-in-law and daughter have been telling me. We’re in dire trouble with only two knuckleheads to choose from!!

10 10 2008
Mom2

Granny, I can’t believe you said knuckleheads!

10 10 2008
Mom2

Granny, I can’t believe you said knuckleheads! One problem with Ron Paul is that he doesn’t have a very realistic chance of winning and then his votes will pull votes away from who?? Do you vote strictly conscience, or for the best realistic choice?

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