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New York Times Reinforces Inane Debate Questions

Last night I expressed my distain for the ABC News questions aimed at Democratic Party presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, including my favorite: Why doesn’t Obama wear an American flag lapel pin?

It took about an hour before the first real policy question was asked, then the debate took on some semblance of high ground. But this morning the front page New York Times article, also reproduced by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, dealt only with the inane part of the debate with a headline that reads: Clinton Employs Broad Attacks in a Key Debate.

The whole article deals with the attacks, and mentions in passing that the personality clashes were “Helped along by the questions of the moderators…”

That’s the equivalent of writing a whole story on, let’s say, a police interrogation and mentioning in passing that the confession was was helped along by waterboarding.

Never once did John R. Broder, The New York Times writer, explain how awful the question selection was, instead he, wrote in the Times edition I received in Atlanta:

“During the first half of the debate, the candidates spent so much time sparring over issues of character that they had little chance to discuss major issues that have dominated past debates, with Mr. Obama mentioning Iraq only 40 minutes into the event.”

The New York Times article is factual in every detail, but is fully wrong in context because it never mentions that the ABC News moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos forced the candidates into a personality debate. The questions, by their very nature, had nothing to do with policy. That was the story that was not reported, which the blogosphere for all its factual errors is getting completely correct.

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