Thursday, August 21, 2008

Did a Pastor Upstage Journos When it Comes to Moderating a Debate?

Posted by Teresa at 1:25 PM
Michael Schaffer of The New Republic seems to think so:

The minister's apparently mind-boggling feat involved asking
simple-sounding questions that prompted the candidates to think
out loud, explain basic political principles, and--mostly--to eschew
canned swipes at rivals. The results created a rare appearance of
concord between the media-bias wars' dueling sides: Warren's questions
themselves went largely hailed by voices on both the right ("Rick Warren
should moderate one of the fall presidential debates," declared William
Kristol) and at least a few on the bloggy left ("Warren did a decent job
of moderating the candidates, and he did ask questions the media won't
ask," wrote a MyDD poster, before sniping at McCain's alleged "cone of
silence" cheating). It was a far cry from the big primary-season debates,
full of those ticking-time-bomb and raise-your-hand-if queries so effectively skewered in the September Atlantic by James Fallows. Fallows watched
tapes of all 47 debates in short succession and wound up comparing the
late efforts to later episodes of "The Sopranos," "violent and dehumanizing,
but ... the culmination of a long process."

I enjoyed that Pastor Warren didn't ask any gotcha questions. He was also
able to ask questions that I don't know if a journalists would have the guts
to ask like his question on evil. That question right there summed up both
candidates more than a million questions about policy could.
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