November 29, 2007

"A hall full of yowling Ron Paul loons and questions from Unabomber look-a-likes in murky basements."

Richelieu at Weekly Standard deplores CNN's YouTube debate:
America got to see a vaguely threatening parade of gun fetishists, flat worlders, Mars Explorers, Confederate flag lovers and zombie-eyed-Bible-wavers as well as various one issue activists hammering their pet causes. My cheers went to a listless Fred Thompson who easily qualified himself to be president in my book by looking all night like he would cheerfully trade his left arm for an early exit off the stage to a waiting Scotch and good Cuban cigar. The media will probably award a win to Mike Huckabee, the easy listening music candidate at home in any crowd, fluent in simpleton speak and the one man on the stage tonight who led the audience to roaring cheers by boasting that he had a special qualification to be president that none of the second-raters on the stage could match: A degree in Bible Studies from Ouachita Baptist University of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Well put.

ADDED: By contrast, look at how positive Captain Ed is about CNN's handling of the debate:
For the most part -- with a few glaring exceptions -- the network eliminated the silliness and stuck to substance. The questions hit hot topics and sparked some fierce debate. With a couple of exceptions, Republican fears of crypto-Democratic hit questions failed to materialize, and the candidates responded substantively to the rest.

I expected the debate to descend into silliness and gotcha moments. The only gotchas came from the candidates. Truthfully, this may have been one of the least "gotcha" and most substantive debates we've had this year.


George said...

Fred was standing tall.

Just like his neighbor down the road.

All he needs now is a big 'ol stick to wipe that nest of vipers clean out of Washington.

EnigmatiCore said...

Unlike other debates, I neither watched nor tivo-ed.

However, reading some recaps, I see that *four* of the questioners were declared Democratic supporters, involved in Democratic campaigns, or Democratic union officials.

I'm sorry, but that does not happen by accident.

Kevin said...

It was more like a parade of Hillary plants, DNC stooges, gaypushers ... and that's just the CNN staff I'm talking about.

What a jopke.

Look folks: The media controls you. They control what questions DON'T get asked. If you don't like that ... tough. There's nothing you can do about it.

When Anderson Cooper asks Hillary Clinton when we're getting out of Kosovo ... the war started by her husband without UN authorization, without Congressional authorization, a war that killed thousands of innocent civilians, a war zone which still sees the deployment of US troops ... well, then we'll have us a media that is doing its job.

Until then, they're all Hillary whores ... and cheap ones at that.

rhhardin said...

Mark Lieberman over at The Language Log thinks Giuliani's accounting for shagonomic expenses is a tautology

"And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them."

But it's not any kind of tautology. The first handled is taken broadly, and the second narrowly, and the statement says that the one is the other, which is not a tautology.

MadisonMan said...

I'll preface this by saying I'm not a fan of Giuliani's (no, really!) but that I'm the type of person whose vote in the General Election is critical for him. I thought his exchange with Romney re: illegal immigrants showed Giuliani to be petty and, well, mean. You cannot blame people when companies they hire turn around and hire illegals. (Well, you can blame them, but any thinking person will realize the burden that's gonna place on anyone hiring any company).

And with the Hollywood writers on strike, I have to wonder: who is writing Romney's off-the-cuff remarks?

George said...

Huckabee now leads in Iowa, according to Rasmussen.

He's a product that sells well on TV--easy on the eye and the ear....

And, hey, he's a pro-death penalty minister. Great Bible answer, too! Glad to know he's not in favor of eye-plucking.

Guiliani and Romney are both creepy, each in their very own special ways. Ron Paul hails from Neptune. Fred's there. McCain belongs to the past, and the other two...who cares...

Imagine the contrast that would exist between Sen. Clinton and Huckabee...

George said...
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Simon said...

With regard to the Cap'n comments, there was never any need to vindicate those of us who pressed for this debate to go ahead, but have the concerns of the doubters - Hewitt et al - now been falsified?

Simon said...

George said...
"And, hey, he's a pro-death penalty minister."

I'm sure you mean that to connote some kind of tension betwixt his position and his views, but unless he's a Catholic minister (he isn't), I don't see your point.

George said...


Lots of Christian denominations (Methodists and Presbyterians, to name two) oppose the death penalty...not surprising considering that the religion's founder suffered capital punishment.

Tully said...

It was more like a parade of Hillary plants, DNC stooges, gaypushers ... and that's just the CNN staff I'm talking about.

LOL. Googled up some of those questioners (besides the Clinton/Edwards/Obama supporters) and good lord, what a bag of mixed nuts.

Tully said...

The biiggest BS is CNN saying they didn't have time to check out the questioners, after apologizing for letting Hillary's gay general slip through. Hey, it's not rocket science, guys. One coffee boy, an internet connection and Google could have let you background the whole bunch in a couple of hours. Give it a try sometime.

Fen said...

So, do any of the Dem candidates have the balls to appear at a FOX debate with Brit Hume and Mara Liason as moderators? If not, why not?

Anonymous said...


You're right, "McCain belongs to the past," along with those "traditions and institutions" that made this country great. Like the concept this country won't torture its prisoners. Romney embraces this future. He's not afraid to say this country, under his leadership, will torture. It was enough to garner praise from Bill Bennett, saying on CNN that Romney came out on top in this debate. And who better to see the moral value of torture than Bill Bennett?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

don't see it as a "moral" value on their part. The anti-waterboarding crowd rountinely calls for "exceptions" to torture if their city is at risk.

And does a "moral" position on waterboarding mean you would never employ it in any circumstance? Ten million innocents in Los Angeles must die because you refuse to waterboard a known terrorist? Another 10 million innocents in Tehran must die in the retaliatory strike? How is that "moral"?

EnigmatiCore said...

"The biiggest BS is CNN saying they didn't have time to check out the questioners, after apologizing for letting Hillary's gay general slip through."

It wasn't just the general.

One of two things must have happened to let *four* of the questioners be plants.

1) Some of those involved in choosing the questions were intentionally pushing a (Democratic friendly) agenda, or

2) Those involved in choosing the questions were not trying to intentionally push a Democratic agenda, but just happen to look at things exactly as a Democratic activist would, and as such felt moved by questions from Democratic activists.

Which is worse, I do not know. What I do know is that the debates have become eye-gougingly bad. On the Democrat side, you get questions which do not elicit any information and do not challenge the candidates, which leaves us knowing nothing, and on the Republican side, you get questions that only highlight how well they can handle attack questions framed from a Democratic activist perspective.

Here is what I want-- a weekly half-hour show. Alternate weeks between Republicans and Democrats. Each week, two candidates from whichever party is 'up' are chosen at random and invited. A very generic subject is also chosen at random ("Health Care", "Taxes", "Defense", "Iraq", etc.) and announced to the participants in advance so that they can prepare.

If a candidate declines, then the selected 'opponent' for that week gets to debate someone of their own choosing (their campaign chief, a 'regular' voter, whoever they want) basically giving them a free ride-- the others would not want that so they would not duck.

Then just have the half hour show be the two at a table, talking about the subject. No moderator, no nothing. If they want to spend the entire time yelling over each other, that would be fine as it would tell us a lot about their character. Let them just run with it. We would learn a lot more.

With how early the campaigns are starting nowadays, we could have every candidate square off with every other one from their party long before the first primary or caucus. And subjects would be handled in depth.

And there would be no chance for media bias. Which is probably why CNN, MSNBC, Foxnews et al would never do it.

PatCA said...

As more of the questioners are revealed to be Democratic activists, I'd say the hit questions indeed made it. The other questions seemed to fit the guns, God, and gays stereotypes.

BTW Did anyone ask the Dems about don't ask, don't tell, seeing how it came about on Bill Clinton's watch and today is not challenged by a Dem congress?

paul a'barge said...

Captain Ed had his tongue 1/2 way up the neck of a bottle of scotch if he had that to say about the YouBoob debate.

I still say the "C" in CNN stands for "Commie".

Simon said...

George said...
"Lots of Christian denominations (Methodists and Presbyterians, to name two) oppose the death penalty...not surprising considering that the religion's founder suffered capital punishment."

Yes, but that doesn't mean that there is anything particularly unusual or outstanding about Huckabee being in favor of it, as I suppose there would be if a Catholic priest was of that opinion, in contravention of what I had thought (maybe incorrectly) was a fairly well-developed body of ecclesiastical authority opposed to capital punishment. But ex vi termini, it seems to me, protestantism has no comparable power to to authoritatively impose a particular doctrine believers. I had thought that personal interpretation and personal relationship with God was foundational in protestantism, so how any position on the death penalty which can be squared with the legitimate authorities recognized by protestants possibly be in tension with protestant faith?

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

CNN does themselves no favors by pretending that there was no way that they could vet the backgrounds of the questioners. This was not a spontaneous event. They had plenty of time to pre-select the questions and questioners, which they did, from the hundreds, perhaps thousands, submitted. As others have pointed out, an intern could have obtained the information in a few minutes by googling the names.

As to the brigadier general, they certainly knew in advance that he would be in the room. Any normal person would think that rather odd unless he lives in the neighborhood. Should have raised red flags. It didn't. They pre-arranged to give him ample time. That fix was in from the get-go.

Can't help wonder, though, what kind of mileage the Clinton campaign thinks it is getting out of these stunts. It seems to me that they always backfire and play right into her negatives. OTOH, if these people really are loose cannons, they aren't doing her any favors and the campaign should be doing more to disassociate itself from them while publicly discouraging others who might be thinking of it. AFAIK, they aren't, and that makes them look all the more sinister (and inept).

rcocean said...

Exactly why I hate Captain Ed.

Could we please stop giving CNN and the MSM a pass? They aren't stupid, or naive little kids. They had weeks to prep for this debate and choose the questions. AND ITS THEIR JOB - for which they're paid a lot of money.

The questions sucked - big time. Yes, they were legitimate questions, BUT we need Conservative/Republicans asking questions on issues they think are important, not Liberal questions reflecting the liberal agenda. Liberal questions included - Gays in the military, log cabin Republicans, waterboarding, the Confederate flag, putting women in jail for having abortions, and why are we mean racist Republicans not doing more for black people.

Its like Chris Matthews asking about Evolution, its a liberal concern not a Republican one.

And Great comments, especially Kevin - LOL.

Richard Dolan said...

These debates are only for die-hard political junkies; I'm not masochist enough to watch these things. Nor is something like this likely to have any real electoral significance. CNN starts out with a small audience, and it's not heavily populated by Rep primary voters. Thus the "who won?" stuff is an exercise in inside baseball at its most extreme.

The after-commentary was all over the lot. Fred Barnes thought it was a "humiliating" display and that the candidates should have refused to participate. The only part he liked was Romney's refusal even to entertain a question about the meaning of the Confederate flag. Evidently others (Cap'n Ed) had a different take.

The one commentary that made the most sense to me was Jay Cost's suggestion that the debate was primarily useful for gauging how the candidates view the state of the race: first, how each viewed the others as a potential threat, and how each is plotting out his path to the nomination; and second, what topics each of the candidates thought was likely to the most effective with the Rep primary electorate in attacking another candidate perceived as a threat. According to his take, Rudy targets only Romney, but is equally focused on Hillary; Romney targets Rudy and Huckabee; Huckabee mostly ignores the others, but responds only to attacks by Romney; and all three gave a pass to Thompson and McCain. McCain is the only one who responds to Paul, perhaps (as Cost suggests) because McCain can't resist responding to Paul's pull-out-yesterday approach to Iraq. The issue that Cost says was brought up most often by the candidates (without prompting by a question) was immigration. His take is that, by watching what they bring up, you can see what they think is likely to move the Rep primary electorate (even if it wasn't watching, or only sees a sound-bite or two from the entire debate).

Cost also had kind things to say about CNN -- mostly, because the moderator stayed out of the fray, and thus let the candidates control more of the flow. That was what Cost wanted to see given his view that the only significant aspect of an event like this is the insight it offers into the candidates' view of the state of the race. Sounds right to me, but as I said, I didn't watch the thing. I think he also viewed Cooper's performance in the same way Ann did (i.e, Cooper was not trying to control or direct the event), but finds that praiseworthy where she found it weak and ineffective.

Pogo said...

I cannot be bothered any longer to watch these debates. CNN is, like the NYTimes, an arm of the Democratic party. They can be relied on to manipulate the questioners and even the questioners.

It's a total sham.
Why bother?

In the groggy wee hours on first awakening, I can stomach watching Robin Meade on CNN Headline, but only with the sound off. Eye candy. Is she actually reading the news? Hell if I know.

John Stodder said...

I love the YouTube concept, but it appears as if CNN abused it last night.

CNN's job should have been to screen out obvious nut questions and the obvious plants, and then put the rest in a random order and see what happens.

That they let the Hillary campaign guy's question get through was almost as pathetic as their excuses for it. If the reverse had happened, I have no doubt someone would have lost their job, plus the press would've put pressure on the evil candidate trying to manipulate our democracy to investigate and fire the persons involved in the scam. And the Republican candidate would have done exactly what was asked. There would have been a Time magazine cover: "The Return of Dirty Tricks?" with said candidate morphing into Nixon. To appear bipartisan and fair, there would have been a sidebar about the old Mayor Daley.

theMickey's said...

i didnt get to watch the debates but reading this post, I'm offended by a "well put" endorsement aimed at 'simpleton speak'

Sounds like someone is pretty full of themselves. Heaven forbid we ever have a president everyone can understand.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do find it interesting that the big news out of the debate were the CNN screw ups and Clinton dirty tricks. Looking back at this in a couple of months, that is mostly what we will remember of last night. My view is that this is a pretty good indication that they have become a colossal waste of time.

Der Hahn said...

It's not just the General. At least five of questions selected from YouTube were submitted by people with ties to various Democrats.

(via Michelle Malkin)

Concerned Young Undecided Person “Journey” = John Edwards supporter “Journey”

Concerned Undecided Log Cabin Republican supporter David Cercone = Obama supporter David Cercone

Concerned Undecided Mom LeeAnn Anderson = Activist for the John Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers union LeeAnn Anderson

(via Jason Coleman)

The guy who asked the question about corn subsidies, Ted Faturos, is a former intern for Democrat Congresswoman Jane Harman.

David McMillan, an aspiring TV writer in California, AND, a Bush and Rove hatin', John Edwards fan, who asked why the Republican party doesn't attract more African-Americans to it's side.

Shan said...

Can someone please explain to me why the background of the questioners is relevant? We live in a democracy where our elected leaders must answer to ALL the people - not only those who have voted or would vote for them.

Beth said...

No complaints about Grover Norquist appearing to ask a tax question?

Patca, the Democratic candidates are being asked about DADT; I found stories on that issue going back to July in a google search, and it appears that Human Rights Campaign is reporting on that this week, one candidate at a time, over six days.

Fen said...

Concerned Undecided Democrat Fen asks Hillary: If elected, what policy would you put in place to protect female White House staffers from your husband?

Fen said...

Can someone please explain to me why the background of the questioners is relevant?

Sure, passing off Clinton/Edwards supporters as "concerned undecided voters" is dishonest.

I'd be curious to see what YouTube clips CNN left on the cutting room floor.

Fen said...

We live in a democracy where our elected leaders must answer to ALL the people - not only those who have voted or would vote for them.

Right, but this is the primary, thats for the general election. Allowing Dems to particpate in our primary while refusing GOP particpation in the Dem primary is wrong.

If MSNBC allowed cloaked-Rudy supporters to question Hillary during the Dem primary debates, there would be a firestorm and many firings.

George said...


I could be wrong--and probably am--but I think that it would be unusual for a Methodist or Presbyterian minister to support the death penalty.

The denominations have no "power" to demand conformity of views among their congregations, except through persuasion from the pulpit, but both denominations hold conclaves in which policy on issues is set, and I'd guess that clergy people are kinda sorta supposed to follow suit.

Huckabee did say that it was the hardest decision he'd ever made. Whether he would make a good President or not, I don't know, but he did come across as a normal-seeming, well-adjusted person, which probably immediately disqualifies him from being President.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can someone please explain to me why the background of the questioners is relevant? We live in a democracy where our elected leaders must answer to ALL the people - not only those who have voted or would vote for them."

I don't think it's a problem that they submitted questions. The concern is over what CNN selected and whether CNN should research the background of the questioners or just take them at face value. If face value is sufficient, look again at what they chose and what it expresses... especially along with the others that were choses (eg, the Bible, flag, and gun guys).

Ruth Anne Adams said...

CNN had General Kerr on as a guest in December 2003 to discuss military policy on homosexuals.

Blake said...

Ruth Anne,

Didn't that happen in the last debate, too? An "average, undecided voter" was someone CNN had on as an expert in...Muslim issues?

Fen said...
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Fen said...

At the Las Vegas debate, the "pearls or diamonds" question to Hillary was the result of CNN prodding.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Blake: [channeling Hillary!] "Ya know, I can't recall."

Maybe I can hire John Edwards to sue CNN for journalistic malpractice.

EnigmatiCore said...

"I don't think it's a problem that they submitted questions."

Nor do I.

What I think is a problem is that apparently there were many questions posed by people with ties to Democratic campaigns (either direct involvment or declared advocacy), but not an equal number of questions posed by people with ties to Republican campaigns, both in this debate and in the Democratic debate.

I would like to hear the candidates from both parties face hostile questions from the left, from the right, and from the center. I would like them to also face friendly questions from the left, the right, and the center.

What we get now are Republicans asked questions framed from the left and Democrats asked questions framed from the left. If I was a lefty, I would think that is just fine. But I am not. And I don't think I would like the reverse, either. Nor do I think I would like both sides getting only questions framed from their side, or both sides getting only questions framed from the other side.

But even more than that, I would like what I mentioned above. The candidates going at each other, in depth, without the bias introduced by producers, pundits, or the 'people' (the 'people' as chosen by the producers and the pundits).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think that the more major issue is the manipulation of the election process by the media so that the ultimate winner is the candidate of THEIR choice. Guess who??

By structuring these so called debates to marginalize and minimize the face time of some of the candidates they are focusing the attention where THEY want it to go. The annointed media doesn't like Thompson or Hunter, because they are true conservatives, so they supress them and push Romney and Guiliani but make sure to magnify their faults. Ron Paul is a wacko so they do give him face time (for enterainment value and to take away from spending time on Thompson or Hunter or Tancredo. Huckabee, while extremely likeable is in no way a conservative and most likely the weakest candidate of the top 4.

The primarys and the GOP and Dem debates are a way for each party base to vet their own candidates.

To have the questions obviously and deviously posed by liberal democrats instead of addressing questions that the party(s) would like to have addressed to see who WE would like to chose in the primary, just distorts and maniplates the process.

Instead of getting questions from Republicans or undecided voters, the questions reflect the warped idea of the liberal hacks at CNN and those who have already committed to voting for the other party of what THEY think are Republican issues.

Bibles being waved in your face, confederate flags, women being jailed for abortions, gun totting nuts, black on black crime, gays in the military etc. All these gotcha questions were slanted from the liberal play book and were obviously geared to make the candidates look bad.

The media is shilling for the Democrat Party and attempting to rig the elections by allowing opposition shills to interject themselves into the debates. CNN is the worst of the lot....or maybe they are just the most obvious.

Cedarford said...

Shan said...
Can someone please explain to me why the background of the questioners is relevant? We live in a democracy where our elected leaders must answer to ALL the people - not only those who have voted or would vote for them.

The issue is CNN's bias in the selection process. As CNN said, thousands of submissions were entered. Less than 1 in one hundred made it into the top dozen and a half aired. The rest were discarded. Of the "finalists" 5 (known of so far) came from "Left" field courtesy of Democratic activists. Grover Norquist, of the cancerous Club for CEO Greed, somehow had his professionally produced submission treated as if from Joe Public. The special interest group Log Cabin Republicans were also treated as "Joe Public" even though they ask and get airtime anytime they want on the networks...
One was a stupid ditty that asked no question. Another was a professional animated effort from a commercial cartoonist.
3 were just wierd things from people that looked like they have lived in a basement for years and obsessed about things like the Bible prop thrust at the camera.

Less than half of the "U-tube Finalists" selected by CNN editors appeared to come from regular people. It was a setup. A Republican primary debate where "equal time" appeared to be given to anti-REpublicans in a way that the Democrats never had to suffer a single U-Tube question from a conservative functionary.

The July Dem U-Tube debate was just as biased by CNN selections and favored pro-Clinton questions and the usual relentless demonization of Bush questions framed such that allowed the Dem candidates to duck their own stances and just pile on Dubya.

Richard Dolan - These debates are only for die-hard political junkies.
Hardly, when done right, in a way that reveals the nature of the candidate and the quality of their thinking, they can be very valuable to possible donors and supporters looking for someone they wished to help be President.

The debates for me have been determinative on my opinions of a few of the candidates. I thought Richardson might be supportable as a moderate Democrat with an impressive resume. The debates revealed him as a lumbering, flummoxed idiot unable to think coherently. Scratch him from the list.
Same with McCain, yesteryear's candidate. And Thompson. Big downarrows.
The debates pulled Huckabee out of the fringe.
Showed Obama's inexperience.
And slowly have revealed Ron Paul like they did Perot - reasonable 90% of the time, then the veil parts and you see the nut within...

What CNN did with their U-tube debate format was inject their disgraceful Leftist bias into what is a promising new avenue ordinary people thought they could use but appears the media favors the activists, the strange, the professional victimhood whiners, and the oh so cute submissions.

Der Hahn said...

Maybe it would be easier to figure out if any of the YouTube questions selected by CNN were submitted by card-carrying Republicans. It was, after all, a debate among candidates for the Republican nomination.


Jim Vicevich alerts us to a few more Democratic plants at the CNN YouTube Republican candidates forum last night.

Adam Florzak asked a question on Social Security. It turns out that Florzak quit his job with Caterpillar to work with Dick Durbin on social security reform.

Then there was Mark Strauss, who pleaded with Ron Paul to run as an independent. It turns out he's a Richardson supporter. CNN must have know who Strauss is because he participated in the CNN/Youtube Democratic presidential debate this past July.

AJ Lynch said...

Here is a question I asked myself from time to time....the MSM (CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC) organizations employ about 500 or more people each. What the fluff do these armies of people do if not deploy in force to screen these 5,000 You Tube flicks and their creators? Seriously, why does the CBS Evening News (really not singling them out) employ about 200 people to produce a 20 minute show (after taking out 10 minutes for commercials)..... and most of the "news" stories became "news" when CBS got a press release from a business or think tank or govt bigwig.

AJ Lynch said...

And if I were a stockholder in any of the aforementioned MSM companies, I would really be pissed and wonder why the heck I am paying salaries to 500 or so people to produce shows which are debunked as inaccurate or inept by unpaid bloggers on an all too regular basis.

Revenant said...

Can someone please explain to me why the background of the questioners is relevant?

Two reasons come to mind.

First of all, as others noted, describing the questioners as "undecided" was dishonest. They should have been identified as supporters of the opposition.

Secondly, at least one of the plants -- Hillary's retired general -- was given an opportunity to give a speech about how the Republicans supposedly weren't giving an honest answer to his question. Is CNN planning to let Giuliani spokesperson give a speech during the next Democratic debate, explaining all the ways in which Hillary's answers are dishonest and inaccurate? Why do I suspect the answer to be "no"?

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

No complaints about Grover Norquist appearing to ask a tax question?

No Beth, not from me. He and his organization were identified. The others lied about or went to great lengths to hide their associations. Surely you are not contending that CNN was unaware who Grover Norquist was? Almost half the questions were asked by operatives working for candidates in the other party, although their affiliations were hidden. This doesn't appear to bother you one bit. It bothers me because they sure as Hell aren't anywhere near being what was advertised: average voters, most undecided. As someone else said, the so-called undecided voter urging Paul to run as an independent is in fact associated with the Richardson campaign. That's about as dishonest as it gets, I think, without the active collusion of CNN, as in the pearls question asked of Hillary.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

For far too many people, it seems that full disclosure and openness is only required of one's oppponents. Being sneaky, lying, conspiring to support third party candidates with sole purpose of siphoning off votes from an opponent are perfectly ok if done for the right reasons or the correct end is achieved or the cause is just.

That's bullshit.

Beth said...

Randy, Norquist is hardly an "average, undecided voter," either. The whole thing stinks if it's sold as "average people" get to join in the debate process and instead it's people connected to campaigns and partisan institutions. If CNN or any other station, yes including FoxNews, wants to have a YouTube questions from people involved in the election process, across the spectrum, I'd say go for it, as long as it was as labeled. The problem here is it wasn't what CNN said it was. And whether CNN knows who's who, as with Norquist, or not, some of these questioners, including Norquist, are "pros," not the average Joes we were told we'd see.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

No, Beth, Norquist is not an average voter. He wasn't identified as such either. He didn't pose as one. He didn't hide his affiliation. I agree it stinks that there really are no "average voters" being allowed to ask questions when those that are are being portrayed as such. At the same time, I would appreciate just a wee bit of honesty from the network about the backgrounds & affiliations of who the network chose to ask questions. It reeks, and not just of the elitist condescension revealed by them thinking no one would figure it out when all it took was one google click.

Simon said...

Beth said...
"Randy, Norquist is hardly an 'average, undecided voter,' either."

I don't necessarily agree with that. Grover may not be an undecided voter for purposes of the general election, but for purposes of the primary election to which this debate belongs, I don't know that he's made up his mind on a particular candidate.

James said...

To those posting comments about how blatantly liberal the question selecting process was:

The MRC (the group headed by gasbag Brent Bozell, which recently gave Rush Limbaugh and award for Media Excellence and considers Ann Coulter a legitimate conservative authority) graded it this way. In the Republican debate, there were 14 conservative questions to 8 liberal questions, with the rest "ideologically ambiguous" or neutral. In the Democratic debate, it was 17 liberal questions to 6 conservative. Sorry, but the ridiculous hyperbole being spouted here is mostly baseless.

EnigmatiCore said...

Well, Jeeze, James. You might have had a decent point there except you went through the trouble of discrediting your evidence before presenting it.

jfm said...

The planted questions got on the debate because:

1. CNN is incompetent, or

2. CNN is dishonest.

The planted questions got discovered very quickly because CNN is incompetently dishonest.

James said...

Haha, true, any evidence coming from the MRC is normally automatically thrown out. However, I was just using it as an example as one of the most ridiculous conservative groups actually taking the unheard of step of somewhat complimenting CNN, while some commentators here refer to calling CNN "commies" and saying the debate moderation was ridiculously liberal. In this sense, I think even evidence from the MRC can serve the intended purpose :)

Revenant said...

However, I was just using it as an example as one of the most ridiculous conservative groups actually taking the unheard of step of somewhat complimenting CNN,

When somebody ridiculous does something you agree with, you need to consider that maybe it isn't that they've suddenly acted sensibly -- its that your belief is ridiculous.

Bozell is something of a fruitcake. Many things that he considers "normal conservatism", actually normal conservatives wince at. A number of the questions, such as the ones with folks posing with bibles and southern flags, probably seemed like normal conservative issues to Bozell. But to the vast majority of conservatives (and Americans in general) to think posing in front of a Confederate battle flag is deeply weird, those weren't ordinary conservative questions. They were questions that make conservatives look deeply weird. I.e., "liberal" questions.

saying the debate moderation was ridiculously liberal

James, they took time out in the middle of the debate to let a member of the Clinton campaign give a speech bashing the Republicans. Doesn't something about that strike you as just a *teensy* bit wrong?

Fen said...

More fraudulent posers:

"Muslim YouTube questioner was former CAIR Intern"

/via Malkin

Der Hahn said...

I think the resumes of the questioners says something about why the *Democrat* candidates don't want to debate on Fox.

The Democrats know that most major media outlets are in the tank for their agenda, no matter how much they protest about 'gotcha' questions from Lil Russ. They know they will get questions that make their positions look like the ones that all kind intelligent compassionate people who love their moms and apple pie support. CNN would never select videos for the Democrat debate like a couple of bead-draped tie-dyed hippie-wannabes posed in front of peace symbol banner demanding to know why Bush hasn't been impeached, or a soccer mom (who just happens to volunteer for Mitt Romney) asking why schools won't give a kid an aspirin without parental permission but pass out birth control pills like M&Ms.

The Democrats assume they will get biased 'when did you stop beating your wife' questions from Fox News. Now we've got the evidence for their projection because that's appears to be how CNN selected the questions for the Republican debate.

Fen said...

And don't forget the dishonesty of Dem moles trying to disrupt our convention during the last election.

AJ Lynch said...

Last comment - Ann as one of the few liberals here, what is your opinion of CNN? Incompetent or just blinded by a predisposition to see thru a liberal prism so they see nothing odd about some of the questions/ undecided voters?

James said...

Point taken rev, as for the gay general/clinton team member, I do have some qualms with that one.

However, with the MRC thing, though he is a fruitcake, Bozell usually tries to spin everything any network or CNN does as liberal no matter what stretch in logic it requires. As such, I think it is at least probable that at least some of the questions you mention were included in the liberal tally.
In addition (as I read the MRC stuff sometimes, typically for entertainment/shock value) I have seen that the conservative flag-waving, bible-toting, etc. portrayals of conservatives on CNN/networks are the things that they normally criticize as being the liberal portrayal of conservatives.

Revenant said...

James, maybe you're right about Bozell. I usually ignore everything the man says because, as you noted earlier, he's an idiot.

My point is that CNN allowed Democratic partisans -- people who were identifiable as such after the briefest of background checks -- to grill and bash Republicans during a Republican debate. They didn't let Republicans do that to Democrats. That's obvious left-wing bias by CNN, no matter WHAT Bozell says. Maybe Bozell claims there wasn't. Well, chalk that up as just one more issue on which Bozell has his head up his ass.