Outrage Of The Day: ABC?

The outrage at ABC News is palpable from quarters high and low; even the usually temperate Josh Marshall calls the debate an "unmitigated travesty." One ought to be skeptical of public opinion pressure when it is anchored in the worldview of one campaign. Still, most of the ill-wind seems to be blowing from the Obama corner of the woods doesn't mean that the wind is artificial. My instinct, as a card-carrying member of the news media and a former ABC News person, is to defend ABC News, but I won't do that: ABC can defend itself. Some of the criticism seems warranted; a few key facts in the preamble to certain questions were wrong; the American Flag pin question seemed out of place (although there are many Democrats and independents who really do worry about that, even though Obama has explained it to the satisfaction of most others.). Bill Ayers is a toughy; some associations matter, and some don't. But it's a complicated question and one that is probably best explored in a forum that gives Obama more of an opportunity to respond. I can't help but wondering whether, if the debate had followed a more traditional path, and if there had been questions for Hillary Clinton about Mark Penn's association with Colombia or Clinton library disclosure or "screw 'em," the outrage would be as loud.

I personally have no problem with a "one-sided" debate, particularly one that focuses on the de-facto nominee, on the the guy who wants voters to elect him to the most powerful office in the land. It also is illogical for Democrats to assert that simply because Republicans are likely to bring up certain issues and associations in certain ways, the media or other Democrats ought to be prohibited from bringing those up.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Politics

Just In