Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Quick Reaction from Tonight's VP Debate

Watching the vice presidential debate on CNN was like peering into a Petri dish of all that’s wrong with broadcast television, and a microcosm of the damage wrought to the democracy by the surrender of journalism to naked partisanship wrapped in a greasy venire of hypertechnology.

The screens veritably shimmer with the latest in shiny bells and whistles, as what appears to be a dozen talking heads vie for airtime. The panel is divided, ostensibly for the purity of the news operation, into a howling pack of party operatives, out-of-work campaign flaks and ideologues, and oh yeah, reporters. No – I was mistaken – there are so many operatives that they bleed over to the reporter’s turf as well, and as Carl Bernstein – Carl Bernstein! – yields the floor to Ed Rollins, or Paul Begala, or Leslie Sanchez (?), one is left with the distinct impression that journalism has left the building, content to substitute partisanship for anything vaguely resembling analysis, or God forbid, reportage.

Too much work to put reporters to work examining the many factually challenged assertions that a casual observer could detect from tonight’s debate? Apparently.

Why report when you can wire up a few undecided voters in Ohio and track their every biorhythmic impulse?

Debate becomes slogan, slogan becomes spin, but hey, at least we still have that cool screen with movable comments. Cool!


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