To me the big story of tonight is how Gwen Ifill did an unbelievable disservice to the American people.

Edwards clearly won the debate, but it didn't matter.  Most Americans watching that debate were probably sick of the Iraq discussion after 20 minutes and got nearly nothing out of the Domestic part.

And it's Gwen Ifill's fault.   (UPDATED DIARY TITLE ON REQUEST)

It seemed to me that in the first half, she just kept one topic of conversation going for the entire 45 minutes.  It basically amounted to just rebuttal after rebuttal of the same points and that happened solely because Gwen couldn't think of anything interesting to ask about.

How about the draft?  How about Abu Ghraib (you know that thing that set the US back a generation in the war on terror)?  How about asking Edwards about how his experiences on the Intel Committee led him to vote for the IWR?  How about something other than the same tired questions, most of which had already been answered?  

For God sake, how about asking the flipping VP about their plan to get us out of Iraq instead of just asking for the umpteenth time, are the other guys going to make us less safe?

Then, it got worse in the Domestic part.

She had, what, 8 or 10 questions to ask and she chose:  2 on gay marraige, 2 on trial lawyers, 1 on flip-flops, 1 on the very generic 'what's the difference between you', 1 on 'are you qualified'.  That's pretty much what I recall off-hand.

The AIDS question was the only remotely interesting questions, along with the first which I guess was sort of about jobs.

But come on Gwen:

People tuned in to hear about health care costs -- you asked not one time.  They tuned in to hear about education -- you asked not one time.  They tuned in to hear about taxes -- (I think) you asked nothing. They tuned in to hear about the deficit we are leaving for our kids -- you asked nothing.  They tuned in to hear about Stem Cell research and science -- you didn't ask that.   They tuned in to hear about the plight of the middle class -- you asked nothing.  They tuned in to hear about gas prices -- nothing.  

Instead we got vaccuous questions, a moderate desperate to draw the candidates into a pissing match instead of letting viewers hear the issues debated.

You want to know why a lot of Americans hate politics?  It ain't negative ads or anything else.  It's because journalists like Gwen Ifill are more interested than encouraging one-liners and gotcha politics between their opponents than they are about building a bridge betweeen the excercise of government and poeple's lives.

I am truly disgusted by her performance tonight.

Originally posted to dcg on Tue Oct 05, 2004 at 08:53 PM PDT.

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