Botched Debate Draws Complaints By Thousands

    April 17, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

In case you thought you were alone, you’re not the only one miffed* at ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos after last night’s "debate." Over 16,000 people have commented so far at’s debate page—and most of it’s not good.

The title struck me as funny: "Philly Fight Night: Dems Spar Over Electability." It was funny to me because my wife was surprised last night a primary debate was on a major broadcast network instead of CNN or other news channel. I responded that the Democratic race had become a kind of Wrestlemania.

I didn’t know Gibson and Stephie were going to pull Obama into a three-on-one cage match. But that’s pretty much what happened. If you were one of many who likely turned off the debate after 45 minutes of "Barack, why are you such a jerk" questions, they did actually get to some issues that mattered. Why, right there at the end, the candidates got one full minute each to address the gas crisis.

But the flag pin question is important, too, I guess, in Bizarro America where steroids become cause for Congressional investigations and former Clinton White House staffers somehow don’t have a conflict of interest while moderating a very important debate.

Anyway, I’m not the only one complaining about it. ABC News is probably wishing they never enabled viewer commentary on their site  – sometimes Web 2.0-style feedback can feel like a virtual lynching. I don’t know what the record for number of comments on an interactive site is, but this has to approach the record, at least for a broadcast network site.

Here are a few choice comments:


Trash. Plain and simple. What a waste of time. ABC owes the American people an apology. I now understand more than ever why I don’t watch ABC news.


How low ABC news has fallen along with the rest of American television journalism. It’s hard to believe that this was once the network of Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel, who always assumed the intelligence of their audience. What we saw last night was tabloid journalism of the worst sort. The MSM bears a strong responsibility for the debasement of our political discourse and with it of our democracy, precisely because of their focus on this kind of trivia. Shame on ABC! Shame on George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson!!

Totally pathetic – when CG and GS weren’t sobbing over those poor souls making 200K+ who might have to pay more taxes, they were focusing on the most inane issues possible (Lapel pins? Seriously?). Thanks for killing democracy guys! And you wonder why network news is failing and Jon Stewart’s ratings are soaring…

Watching this "debate" with my eighteen year-old son made me ashamed of being an adult. How can I expect him to take voting seriously when our national media treat the election process so shabbily?

wow abc how embarassing for you. I expect could run a better debate.


That last one seems especially harsh, don’t you think? Oh well. One thing we can say about the power of the Internet and the now two-way conversation between media and the public is that the public has a much better an efficient way of letting the media know what’s what.


*The word "miffed" officially wins the Understatement of the Day Award