Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Manufactured Debates. . .

From AlterNet's News Log
by Evan at AlterNet.org - Sept. 27, 2004

With the formal Bush/Kerry debates rolling around, we're already engaged in what seems like a daily debate.  Bush says something truly astonishing like: Sure, I'd totally slide into that cool flight suit and declare "Mission Accomplished" again.  Kerry fires back that nearly 900 more American soldiers have died since that day and that it might have, well, not been the most respectful, accurate, or indeed truthful of declarations.

Or Bush claims that things are just peachy in Iraq despite fiercely contradictory reports by the CIA, his Secretary of State, and senior Republicans in congress.  Voters in key battleground states are beginning to get the message as well and waiting for Kerry to take the lead and offer them an alternative.

But how much of the message are voters likely to get during the highly-touted TV debates beginning this week?  Not much, probably.

The Committee for Presidential Debates is once again running the show allowing the two major parties to control every aspect down to "ordaining the temperature in the auditoriums," according to a new report by the Citizens' Debate Commission which was also the subject of Friday's NOW with Bill Moyers.

"(T)he CPD secretly submits to the demands of the Republican and Democratic candidates.  Behind closed-doors, negotiators for the major party nominees jointly draft debate contracts called Memoranda of Understanding that dictates precisely how the debates will be run – from decreeing who can participate, to selecting who will ask the questions..."

The CPD has run the debates since the League of Women Voters was kicked out in '88.  Since then, they've become canned performances by two actors and viewership has unsurprisingly been reduced dramatically (no pun intended).

While seeming like a safe bet for both parties at the time, this sidestepping of any real debate surely favors the linguistically-challenged Bush at a time when he should be on the ropes about his failing Iraq policy and his failure in every conceivable domestic realm as well.
Posted by Evan on September 27, 2004 @ 10:51AM.


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