MSNBC Presidental Debates – Part II

Last Thursday, MSNBC hosted a debate between the ten Republican candidates for President. Recently, I blogged about the previous week’s Democratic version of this event. In the interest of fairness, I decided to watch these debates as well. Furthermore, I was interested in seeing Congressman Ron Paul speak. For those not familiar with him, Dr. Ron Paul is an honest and principled man who values liberty and who has served his congressional district in Texas since 1997. Despite my philosophical disagreements with him on several points, I respect Dr. Paul and would recommend voting for him to any liberty loving true conservative. Dr. Paul has been an outspoken critic of big government, big media, big corporations, and the Iraq War. Thus, I expected to see him given the Gravel “potted plant” treatment as seen in the Democratic debates.

Despite my lofty intentions of cheering for Dr. Paul while documenting the bias of big media and the banality of the American elections circus on both sides of the aisle, I’m afraid that my wife and I had a hard time stomaching this one and will not be watching any further Republican Primary debates. Clinton and Obama are pretty awful, and it was fairly sickening to watch them get so much attention in the Democratic primary while they spouted vague “feel-good” political talk, dodged questions, and buttered up the public, but many of these Republican candidates simply made my jaw drop and my stomach lurch with all their meaningless “feel good” praise of some idealized version of America that lives only in their fantasies and their bending over backwards to compare themselves to Ronald Reagan. To make matters worse, my own political beliefs made it very hard to evaluate things like whether a candidate was delivering a good or great answer in the sense of one that truly answered the question when so often they delivered answers that I found deeply disturbing and upsetting. Just ten to fifteen minutes into the debate, my wife and I were pausing the TiVo and seriously pondering if we could make it through another hour and twenty minutes.

We persevered, and I’m delivering my report on the event, but I’m afraid that I just can’t handle doing it again. Continue reading →

MSNBC Presidential Debates

On Thursday evening, MSNBC hosted a Presidential debate between the eight Democratic candidates for President. After watching several such debates back during the election season of 2004, I was prepared for another display of the corporate media’s bias and how certain candidates get selected for media exposure and hype before the public even gets a real chance to know who is running for the Presidency and how the candidates stand on the issues.

So far my candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich has received better treatment from the press this time around. I have seen quite a few interviews with him recently and all of them have been rather good in terms of giving him a chance to talk about policy instead of campaign fund raising and polls. Indeed, many interviewers have even drawn attention to the fact that Kucinich is the only one of the Democratic Presidential candidates who was in office at the time of the illegal invasion of Iraq and had the judgment and political courage to oppose the Iraq War before it started, to vote against it, and to continually fight it.

I was glad to see that tonight’s debate allowed Kucinich to shine better than in the previous campaign cycle. He got to talk several times about two of his strongest points: his consistent opposition to the Iraq War and his plan for Universal Health Care that will eliminate the enormous waste and bureaucracy created by the health care insurance industry by removing them from the equation.

Still, it wasn’t really a fair debate between the candidates and the evening showed some of the biases that you get when the corporate media has the ability to anoint certain candidates and choose who answers what questions and how many.

Being the analytic sort, I decided to perform an experiment and keep track of some data while watching the debates. Continue reading →