October 2, 2018

Why not bring in "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek to moderate your gubernatorial debate?

That's the right question, but you don't ask the question first in "Jeopardy!"

I'm reading "Alex Trebek moderated a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. It didn’t go well" (WaPo).
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and his Republican challenger, Scott Wagner, sat on stage, their faces frozen and their hands clasped. And Alex Trebek, the “Jeopardy!” host and the moderator of Monday night’s debate, let loose, joking that the only thing with a lower approval rating that the Pennsylvania legislature was the Catholic Church.

Polite laughter from the audience quickly turned to boos. Trebek, dressed in a purple flowered tie with a matching pocket square, looked out at the crowd watching the two candidates face off at an upscale hotel in Hershey, Pa. “Don’t go there,” the white-haired television host said, wagging a finger. “I was born and raised in the Catholic Church and I’m just as ticked off as everybody else is over what has happened with the church.”

He went on, unfazed by the ticking clock and the fact that the debate was nearly halfway over. “When I was a young teenager I attended a Catholic boarding school run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Two-hundred and fifty students, other boys and I, spent three years sharing the same accommodations 24/7 with 44 priests and not once in those three years was there any sexual misbehavior. Now boys are pretty sharp, we talk, we would have known. So I believe that there are Catholic priests out there who are able to minister to their congregations without preying — that’s P-R-E-Y — on the young people.”

The comments on WNEP-TV’s live feed were merciless. “Where is this going?” said one. “When do we get to hear from the candidates?” added another. A third viewer put it succinctly: “Alex, shut up.”...

Trebek’s celebrity may have attracted some viewers who wouldn’t ordinarily spend their Monday night watching a political forum. But....
What do you mean, "but"?! We made a celebrity President of the United States and that leap of faith worked out pretty well.
Jill Greene, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, told the Reading Eagle that Trebek’s conversational tone was “problematic” and criticized his frequent interjections and asides.
I haven't watched the debate, but I'm leaning toward Trebek now. "Conversational tone was 'problematic'" — ugh. "Frequent interjections and asides." He brought style and spontaneity and a showbiz-based sensibility of moving things along and keeping people interested. I'm guessing.

It reminds me of Trump's defense of his own style, which I've heard enough times to be able to paraphrase: They say I should sound presidential, and believe me, that would be so easy, but you would be so bored.

Okay, here, I found an example:

41 comments:

Unknown said...

Trump made it look easy

its not

David Begley said...

Trebek is right about Catholic education. Young teenagers are wild and they tamed us in high school.

I submit that if Brett Kavanaugh didn’t go to a Jesuit school he might have turned into the monster the Dems have concocted.

Unknown said...

Trebek understood the SNL comedy formula

Express progressive values

audience feels superior

in this case superior to bitter clinger religious deplorables

and audience pays polite laughter to correct performer

Isn't that how it done on Colbert/Kimmel?

EDH said...

Even people with their own four hour radio shows AND one hour television shows broadcast nationally every day hog the mic from their invited guests.

It’s a disease.

tcrosse said...

Trump wants a wall at the wrong border.

Bob Boyd said...

The difference is that Trump was a candidate, Trebek is the moderator. People want to hear and to compare and contrast the opinions of the candidates. They don't want to hear the opinions of the moderator which are irrelevant.
It comes across as pretty big-headed for Trebek to think his own opinion is important in that setting. Everyone watching has an opinion.

Humperdink said...

I read the article. Trebek is not running for governor, but wants to increase spending on education and tax natural gas production. I'm shocked.

rehajm said...

Some of these local debates sometimes use the conversational format- more casual, less talking points, less trying to score points. Maybe people expected the lectern and point scoring debate? Did Trebek make up his own format?

On Jeopardy! he's well known for walking down dark some streets.

sparrow said...

Alex was a poor choice because the moderator is supposed to facilitate the debate not inject himself into it. His opinions are irrelevant and he should know it. Trump on the other hand was a participant in the debates and was expected to pontificate. Alex of course is used to a lighter less serious venue, he doesn't appear to understand the different context.

rehajm said...

If he had mentioned Turd Ferguson I would have had bingo.

Ralph L said...

Trebek is occasionally rude to a Jeopardy contestant, but I'm sure it's unintentional since he was Canadian.

Gordon Scott said...

I'm sure Trebek has all the correct opinions, since the SJWs in Hollywood would have evicerated him by now if he did not.

Bob Boyd said...

When you go to the freak show, you aren't there to see some guy with zero physical deformities who has managed to glom onto the circus somehow. You want to see the lobster boy and the lady with 3 boobs and so forth.
By the same token, nobody wants to know that Alex Trebek didn't get buggered by a priest back in Catholic school. Who cares?

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The "presidential" style is the the "media hack " style.

Fake.

Big Mike said...

What do you mean, "but"?! We made a celebrity President of the United States and that leap of faith worked out pretty well.

We made him? The press set out to make him the Republican nominee and succeeded, while the Democrats put up Hillary Clinton, who is a massively corrupt individual. In a sense the organizations who constitute his opposition made him president. But you’re right about it working out well.

tcrosse said...

I'm sure Trebek has all the correct opinions, since the SJWs in Hollywood would have evicerated him by now if he did not.

Pat Sajak, Drew Carey, and Steve Harvey manage to be successful Game Show Hosts without having the full set of "Correct" opinions.

SeanF said...

EDH: Even people with their own four hour radio shows AND one hour television shows broadcast nationally every day hog the mic from their invited guests.

Fox Butterfield, is that you?

They have a four-hour radio show and a one-hour TV show because they're inveterate microphone hogs.

CStanley said...

“Narcissistic celebrities for $300 please.”

DanTheMan said...

Why do we need a moderator and all the rules? Just have the two candidates sit down and talk about the issues.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

My wife and I still watch reruns of old episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" and there are commercials were Alex Trebek pitches incontinence pads or knee braces or you-can't-be-turned-down life insurance or something low status like that. Maybe it's reverse mortgages. I feel it something of a personal failing of mine that I recognize Alex Trebek at all. Maybe I recognize him because he was a guest star on "Cheers."

"Who are 3 people who've never been in my kitchen?" Damn!!! That is freaking excellent! Somebody thought of that and I'd like to shake his hand.

Anyway, a few years ago there was a dog show not too far from where we live. The master of ceremonies was the guy who played J. Peterman on "Seinfeld." I can't imagine the job paid very much. Maybe he's into dogs so it's all good. Anyway, beats working for a living.

So it goes.

Clark said...

It was bad. He seemed more like a participant than a moderator. That alone would have been enough to criticize his performance, but his smug and condescending demeanor made it all the more unbearable.

Bob Boyd said...

Shut up and moderate.

M Jordan said...

Trebek suffers from the Alan Alda syndrome: He believes he is the character on TV whose lines were written for him by others.

tcrosse said...

Anyway, a few years ago there was a dog show not too far from where we live. The master of ceremonies was the guy who played J. Peterman on "Seinfeld." I can't imagine the job paid very much. Maybe he's into dogs so it's all good. Anyway, beats working for a living.

John O'Hurley has been the host of Purina's annual National Dog Show every Thanksgiving since 2002. According to IMDB he manages to keep busy with acting gigs, so it's unlikely he misses many meals.

Bob Boyd said...

Alex is kinda touchy about being the only boy the priest didn't molest.

Mark said...

Yeah, Trebek was bad. So . . .? What's your point?

Tell us please about any recent debates where the moderator was good. Any recent debates where the moderator did not think that he was in charge, that the point of the exercise was to demand that the candidates answer to him -- complete with gotcha questions -- rather than allow the public to learn something about the candidates.

Any debates where you actually learned something of the candidates and where the whole thing was not treated like a game show. Where the candidates were able to actually speak about things in a normal human way and not in canned 30-second talking points.

Alex Trebek wasn't any worse than any other debate moderator. And all of these "debates" have become an incredible waste of everyone's time.

Mark said...

The whole premise of these "debates" is fraudulent.

No one governs -- or at least should not -- by thinking and making decisions on a snap basis, in one minute increments.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

if Alex doesnt work out, there's always Michael Buffer

Big Mike said...

This effing country has officially gone batshit insane. I mean loco.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Did candidates take umb.rage or audience out.rage?

That's metric.

The Crack Emcee said...

Another example of someone discussing something truly important and getting booed for the effort. Children getting raped by religious figures? SHUT UP.

We came to talk about the EPA and taxes.

FIDO said...

He is Canadian, IIRC, so you can't expect a mild mannered Trebeck to rescue you from Trump in 2020.


That being said, he seems a touch...pretentious. Well read but pretentious.


I am okay with that since he seems a lot more my speed of pretentious than Obama the Grate (sic).

FIDO said...

I could just as well do without a moderator anymore in any of the debates, save as official time keeper, and they could add a buzzer to do that.

Like we need one of those self important fatuous gasbags in the media decide who wins and leaks questions to their favored candidate.

Can you imagine how much MORE in the tank the media would be into a 2020 Trump/Crook debate?

tcrosse said...

Like Obama, Trebek is not an intellectual, but he plays one on television.

Openidname said...

"DanTheMan said...

"Why do we need a moderator and all the rules? Just have the two candidates sit down and talk about the issues."

Because neither would ever shut up.

But I'm in favor of having them speak alternately, using a timer and cutting off the candidate's microphone if he or she tries to go over time.

Trumpit said...

I honestly believe that the aspartame in Diet Coke has frizzled Schlump's brain.

friz·zle
[ˈfrizəl]

VERB
fry or grill with a sizzling noise.
"Elsie had the fat frizzling in the frying pan"
synonyms: sizzle · crackle · fizz · hiss · spit · sputter · crack · snap · fry · cook · [more]

William Chadwick said...

I want to hear Trump tell Trebek, "Moderate this, ye panty-waist mountebank!"

The Godfather said...

How can we talk about debate moderators and not mention Candy Crowley? In the Obama-Romney Debate she ruled for Obama and shut Romney up. Or to be more accurate, Romney shut himself up. In 2016 the Republican Party nominated a candidate who would NOT have been shut up. I personally think there were other potential nominees who would not have been shut up, but Trump was the most un-shutup-able. And still is.

Personally, I'd prefer that he play a little more "Presidential" from time to time. Not like the Bushes, but Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama managed to do "Presidential" without doing wimp.

Ken B said...

Another cartoon for Ann to explain to us. http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screen-Shot-2015-12-22-at-10.42.27-PM.png Doubtless I am wrong to think drawing his daughters as monkeys is tasteless.

furious_a said...

"Anal bum cover for $200, Alex!"

Tom Grey said...

"you'd all be outta here..."

Great clip, genuine feeling, entertaining delivery. Trump's style has kept him as the biggest news for 3 years, almost every single day.

OK, for the last 2 weeks, it has been Kavanaugh -- but mostly because he was Trump's pick. And the Deranged Dems who say they hate Kavanaugh would hate any Rep that Trump chooses, because they hate Trump. They suffer from Democrat Derangement Syndrome.

I used to think I wanted Trump to be more presidential, and used to not follow his tweets directly. Now I do. Like FDR did on radio, Trump is using the new Twitter / social media, to speak, in his own, often funny, words -- direct to the people.

It's not Presidential / over-controlled (previous standard). He seldom is actually cringe-worthy in his whole tweet / whole paragraph context. He does insult and mock those who have attacked him or his nominee (like mocking Ford for not remembering so many details). That's verbal fighting. Obama did it; Trump is doing it. Those who criticize Trump without criticizing Obama for similar verbal fights are hypocrites. Those who criticize both are at least fair, and respectable ... and have already lost the culture war of gov't folk insulting their opponents.


Plus the President is almost always trying to tell Americans about how good Americans are, not just Republicans. Unlike Obama & Hillary, who so often were anti-Rep. Here's a recent example:


“America will always be a nation of great builders, because in America, we honor work, we honor grit, we honor craftsmanship, we honor the men and women who turn dreams into a reality with their own two beautiful hands.” — President

was 52 million followers, now up at 54.8 million -- all Americans who are concerned about the USA should follow the President. And critiques of his tweets should have the whole tweet.


Finally, US-MCA, or USMC-A:
Trump calls the new trade agreement USMCA, for U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. "Like YMCA or U.S. Marine Corps with an A at the end," he explained.