November 16, 2015

Behind the scenes at CBS, as John Dickerson reframed the Democratic debate in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks.

Nice reporting by The L.A. Times.
Sitting in the presidential suite at the Des Lux Hotel earlier Friday, Dickerson's eyes were fixed on his binder of queries, looking up to ask whether a change in wording or a well-crafted follow-up would work to push the candidates off their stump speeches and away from the answers that had become pat over a number of interviews....

As Dickerson took in the news from Paris, he had an expression that indicated he knew that there would be a long night ahead and a different tone Saturday. "It's going to be heavier — and a lot more complicated," he said....

Not everyone was happy about the course change for the evening. Isham called the campaigns Saturday morning to alert them that foreign policy was moving to the front burner. A representative for the Sanders camp "went nuts," he said. Naturally, the reaction was leaked to the press by one of Sanders' rivals.
I was tempted to say that Sanders isn't ready for his 3 a.m. phone call in the White House, but that's what whoever leaked that reaction to the press wants you to think, "went nuts" is a characterization that's practically meaningless, and it wasn't Sanders himself doing the nuts-going, but one of his people.

Speaking of meaninglessness, I'm reading this article because Drudge linked to it for some near-meaningless tidbit stuck in the middle of the article: Caitlyn Jenner tried and failed to get a ticket to the event, a request that "went all the way up to CBS News President David Rhodes." But there were no tickets left. I wonder if Jenner said, Don't you know who I am?

Anyway, I'm impressed by Dickerson. He handled the debate extremely well, something I'd have thought even without knowing that they had to scrap a lot of painstakingly crafted questions, questions designed to make plugging in rote material look obviously nonresponsive. Dickerson had to fly home after the debate and get up the next day and do his Sunday show, "Face the Nation." I watched the show, and he mentioned at one point that he got little sleep, but I'm reading just now that the flight began at 2:30 a.m.  and he "Got to bed at 4 and up at 5:45."

28 comments:

Derp said...

Isn't Dickerson the guy who said that the GOP should be destroyed? A more interesting moderator might be one who didn't believe that getting Hillary elected was a moral imperative.

Derp said...

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/01/barack_obama_s_second_inaugural_address_the_president_should_declare_war.html

Oh no, he just said that Obama should "declare war" on his fellow Americans. That's all.

dreams said...

Hasn't Hillary already proven that she isn't ready for a 3am phone call in the White House? Its what people actually do that counts not what they say. Talk is cheap.

Michael K said...

I think it ws nice of him to prepare all the questions and answers for the candidates. Old people get confused easily.

dreams said...

I'm sure the liberals were impressed with John Dickerson, I've never doubted their ability to impress each other.

Curious George said...

"dreams said...
Hasn't Hillary already proven that she isn't ready for a 3am phone call in the White House? Its what people actually do that counts not what they say. Talk is cheap."

Not with Althouse. The circus is all that matters. Oh, and gays.

Brando said...

"Hasn't Hillary already proven that she isn't ready for a 3am phone call in the White House? Its what people actually do that counts not what they say. Talk is cheap."

She hasn't been ready for any phone call at any time. When asked to pilot health care reform, it went down in flames and her husband gave her nothing else to do for the rest of his term (except of course defend him from charges of harassment, making herself a hero to feminists who love irony). In the Senate, her most important votes were to support the invasion of Iraq, and then oppose funding to support the war that was already under way. Strike two! Then she tries race-baiting her way to victory in the 2008 primary, gets outfoxed by Obama. Obama then decides she's less dangerous to him kept close in his administration than outside where she can tear at him, he makes her SoS, which she botches and now has the gall to try and tout as her "experience".

Of course, it would be nice if one of her primary opponents pointed out these obvious truths.

dreams said...

"Gee, there were three campaigns on the phone call. How many guesses about which campaign leaked that story? And isn't it cozy that CBS told the campaigns ahead of time that there would be questions about their reactions to the attack and what they would do? Is it a shock to anyone that there would be questions at the debate about what the candidates would do if they were president in response to this escalation of ISIS attacks outside of the Middle East? WHy did they need to be warned? When you're president, you don't get a warning about what the day's news will bring. But I guess CBS is just especially solicitous of these candidates. Apparently, the CBS debate moderator, John Dickerson, thought it proper to meet ahead of time with each campaign to discuss the issues."

http://betsyspage.blogspot.com/

Brando said...

"Gee, there were three campaigns on the phone call. How many guesses about which campaign leaked that story? And isn't it cozy that CBS told the campaigns ahead of time that there would be questions about their reactions to the attack and what they would do? Is it a shock to anyone that there would be questions at the debate about what the candidates would do if they were president in response to this escalation of ISIS attacks outside of the Middle East? WHy did they need to be warned? When you're president, you don't get a warning about what the day's news will bring. But I guess CBS is just especially solicitous of these candidates. Apparently, the CBS debate moderator, John Dickerson, thought it proper to meet ahead of time with each campaign to discuss the issues."

Obviously the leak was from Hillary's camp--that's their M.O. The Sanders staffer was probably like "oh crap, better prep our guy" and the leaker spun it to make Sanders look like an unprepared spazz (you know, the type who would have handled Benghazi with the cool unflappability Hillary displayed).

As for the warnings from CBS, I wonder if that had something to do with debate rules? Because if there was no obligation to warn them about questions ahead of time, why on earth should the candidates be told this? If they can't handle spontaneous questions then they are not ready to lead.

Matthew Sablan said...

"When you're president, you don't get a warning about what the day's news will bring."

-- No, but if you're friendly with the media, you may get a warning about the spin that they'd like to take.

TreeJoe said...

I give credit where credit is due - Dickerson ran a decent debate and worked hard to avoid the last disaster of a debate. And he was thrown a curve ball at the last minute.

Yes, he's an obvious leftist, possibly even far left. Ironically though, his debate showed how tremendously weak the candidates are more than any other debate and finally prompted Hillary to show some of what she really is.

If anything, his debate more than any other showed that the democrats have - believe it or not - a weaker and crazier field than the Republicans.

I tend to lean right and this is by far the weakest field of candidates in terms of proven executive government experience, from both parties, I'm aware of....I get the draft Romney movement.

Scott M said...

Apparently there's a fine line between being a palace guard and being a member of the fourth estate.

DanTheMan said...

Jenner said: "Don't you know who I am? No? Well, me neither."


EMD said...

Maybe Jenner should have said "Don't you know who I was?"

Jeffrey said...

What? No one noticed the dangling participial phrase right at the beginning of the article? Let's take a look:

Sitting in the presidential suite at the Des Lux Hotel earlier Friday, Dickerson's eyes were fixed on his binder of queries, ...

Uh huh. So Dickerson's eyes were sitting in the presidential suite, I guess. Yeah, I'd like to see that.

Derp said...

Uh huh. So Dickerson's eyes were sitting in the presidential suite, I guess. Yeah, I'd like to see that.

A good Turing test might be to ask an AI candidate to understand that sentence, as a human, I didn't have much trouble.

Sebastian said...

"by far the weakest field of candidates in terms of proven executive government experience, from both parties, I'm aware of"

No. Far stronger than almost any previous field on the GOP side.

We have: former govs of FL, AR, and NY, current govs of OH, NJ, LA, used to have current gov of WI and former gov of TX. You may dislike them all, but their combined experience is probably unmatched in any prior race.

EDH said...

I'll withhold judgment on who did what at the Democrat Debate until the Bad Lipreading version comes out.

SE Flores said...

"Sitting in the presidential suite at the Des Lux Hotel earlier Friday, Dickerson's eyes were fixed on his binder of queries..." Doesn't Althouse have a tag for binders?
This debate, held on a Saturday night to ensure the fewest possible eyes & ears and so that the Comedy Industry Democrat Party Media Complex not do a take on it, has an opportunity to be a test of the candidates on how well they can pivot to a current event/crisis and the moderator accedes to the demands of the candidates that he keep to the original script.
It still made news though when Hillary defended contributions from Wall Street and her activities on the "banksters" behalf as constituent service in the aftermath of 9/11. Bernie's reaction (the dog may be dead, but the tails waggin') that Wall Street expects something for it's money seemingly had some effect on the Twitterverse where the yout's all get their news.

richard mcenroe said...

None of the Democrats are ready for a 3:00 AM phone call.

And I'm, er, progressively less convinced Ann is ready for a Presidential vote.

averagejoe said...

"Caitlyn Jenner tried and failed to get a ticket to the event, a request that "went all the way up to CBS News President David Rhodes." But there were no tickets left. I wonder if Jenner said, Don't you know who I am?"

And the appropriate reply to that would be: "Do you know who you are?"

SukieTawdry said...

I lasted for only about a half hour before I began to nod off. I suppose Dickerson did a credible enough job for someone who penned this. Props for redirecting the focus of the debate (although he would have looked pretty damn ridiculous if he hadn't). It almost makes up for his "informational in nature" meetings with the campaigns prior to the debate.

Michael K said...

"Old people get confused easily."

Especially Hillary. At least Huma says so.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “often confused,” according to an email made public Monday from former c0-chief of staff Huma Abedin to frequent Clinton companion Monica Hanley.

In a Jan. 26, 2013, email, Abedin asks Hanley if she has “been going over calls with [Clinton] for tomorrow? So she knows Singh is at 8?”

Hanley responds, saying “[Clinton] was In bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8 am call. Wiii (sic) go over with her.”

Abedin then warned Hanley “Very Imp (sic) to do that. She’s often confused.”

The email was made public Monday by Judicial Watch, the government watchdog that has filed more than three dozen Freedom of Information Act requests regarding Clinton’s use of a private homebrew server located in her New York home and a private email account instead of a government email to conduct official business during her tenure as the chief U.S. diplomat.


No wonder CBS thought it necessary to prompt them on the questions and answers.

David said...

We are astounded when one journalist does a competent job.

Derp said...

John Dickerson, the moderator, asked whether Clinton’s support for deposing Muammar Qaddafi in Libya also contributed to the massive instability in the region. Clinton herself, in a creative stroke of deflection of responsibility for her role in the events of the last twelve years, argued that terrorism is simply a long-running problem in that part of the world. - The New Yorker.

I know you won't see that repeated on the network new, but I have to hand it to him. Nobody in the Democrat Party should want Hillary as president. Nobody, or else they were all just kidding about their hatred of W.

ObeliskToucher said...

" Dickerson had to fly home after the debate and get up the next day and do his Sunday show, "Face the Nation." I watched the show, and he mentioned at one point that he got little sleep, but I'm reading just now that the flight began at 2:30 a.m. and he "Got to bed at 4 and up at 5:45."

That's a pretty rugged life. Since there's only about 1000 air-miles between Des Moines and NY, he probably had to use the Citation instead of the Gulfstream...

damikesc said...

I know you won't see that repeated on the network new, but I have to hand it to him. Nobody in the Democrat Party should want Hillary as president. Nobody, or else they were all just kidding about their hatred of W.

As the saying goes, if not for double standards, they'd have no standards at all.

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