Breaking The News

Fallows comments on the debate:

I like and respect Stephanopoulos, and part of what I respect about him is the way he usually conducts his TV interviews. But I also remember dealing with him back in the early Clinton days, he in his role as campaign guy and me in my role as reporter. He understands thoroughly and in his bones what is wrong with the kind of mindless, substance-free gotcha questioning he and Gibson wasted their time on last night. I know he understands it because I've heard him shame journalists who were applying the same tactics to Bill Clinton back in the day. What was he thinking? What kind of pressure had been applied to him?[...]

Whatever else happens the next time we choose a president, there has got to be a better way to see candidates operate under pressure than the grotesque system that has metastasized during this electoral cycle. It makes candidates into mere props for bullying anchormen-narcissists. It does no one except the anchormen any good. I mentioned earlier the oddity of Jimmy Carter and GW Bush finding common cause about China policy. Maybe the RNC and the DNC can join hands in freeing political debate from the destructive grip of the networks. And if they can't do that, maybe we should just go all the way and have the candidates compete eating pails full of maggots on Fear Factor. That's the logical extension of where we're headed.

I've also known George for a very long time - back to the early Clinton era, when he insisted that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was going to help gays in the military. He's a very nice man, but he went to work for the Clintons. That has to take a toll on your ethical compass.