Stuff It, Wolf

Just watching the Democrats’ debate from Lost Vegas, and I’m amazed not at how Edwards is going after Clinton, but how nobody is going after Wolf Blitzer.

Wolfie is poking at the candidates like a kid poking a snake with a stick, hoping for something lively to happen. Something that will boost ratings and coverage. Blitzie, knowing how much fun it was to watch Hillary squirm during and after the last debate over whether undocumented immigrants should be given drivers’ licenses, decided to drag that dead horse back on stage and hammer it again.

So he asks Obama if he supports giving drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. Obama says it’s not that simple, we first need to reform the entire immigration system. And Wolf barks “but do you support giving drivers’ licenses blahblahblah.” Obama tries a few words on a broader and more complex answer, and Wolf pounces again. As if he’s saving the Republic. “This is a question where there seems to be an opportunity for a yes or no answer,” Wolfman Hack says. And he goes up and down and pushes each cowed candidate for a yes or no answer.

And nobody looks at him calmly and says, “Wolf, in your simplistic view of the world and breathless sound-bite infantile conception of journalism, there might be a yes or no answer. But I think your viewers are smarter than you are, and realize that you can’t just look at one tiny step in something complex. It’s like saying do you believe, yes or no, that we should clean up the blood on the kitchen floor, when the real question is should we patch up the thumb your kid just sliced off cutting up baloney, and should your kid have that knife, and in fact where the heck were you when your kid decided to make his own lunch?” Or something like that. Maybe just “shut the fuck up, Wolf.”

Dennis Kucinich at least had the guts to bite back a little. “I don’t accept your words, Wolf. They’re not illegal aliens, there are no illegal human beings. They’re undocumented immigrants.” And the Woofer interrupted him to push for his yes or no fix.

If I ran the world, I’d have a debate where the candidates are invited on to a stage, and no journalists are allowed. Just get the candidates up there and start the cameras rolling. See how they deal with one another. Actually have them debate, see how they ask questions of one another, see if they can listen, see if they can say things that make one another think, see if they call one another on their bullshit, have them show us who they really are and how they think.

Cage match. No refs.

No Wolf.

-Benidt

16 thoughts on “Stuff It, Wolf

  1. jloveland says:

    It’s a journalist who wants to make himself the story. “Look at me everyone, I’m a no-nonsense champion of The People demanding straight talk so you won’t have to worry your pretty little heads about complexity or ambiguity!”

    I’m with you Bruce. Journalists are needed after-the fact to chronicle the debate and dig into the truthfulness of answers. But why do they need to be a participant on stage? Take audience questions, have mikes that automatically turn off when the agreed upon time expires, and let the voters decide for themselves which answers are satisfactory and which aren’t.

  2. Hornseth says:

    These aren’t debates, really. They’re zinger contests. Who willl land the evening’s best zinger, press included (Clinton seems to be getting that award this morning)? How will others react when the big zingers hit — will they crumble or zing back with their own most zingeriffic zinginess? How will the last debate’s zingees try not to get zung this time?

    Lloyd Bentsen’s fault, probably — everyone wants to be like the King of Zing.

    It’s sad that the most substantive stuff is coming from the guys that have nothing to lose. Last night, Biden, Dodd, Richardson and even Kucinich gave voters some good indications as to what they’re about.

    But Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Blitzer played a nice game of zing, mostly. I liked it when they didn’t.

  3. This illustrates the only way in which the YouTube debate was more interesting than these traditional “debates.” At least with the human-submitted questions, there was a chance of something interesting and out-of-ordinary being asked. As such, we were afforded the rare opportunity to witness a politician *think* and *speak* rather than recall and recite.

    Of course, it’s all relative. The YouTube debate still sucked. It just sucked less.

  4. JP says:

    If the world was run by the likes of you, in some cases nothing would ever get done, because it would take weeks and weeks of debate to make a decision. Yes and No answers show the core of an individuals beliefs, and also show courage of their convictions. Dancing around questions like these candidates have does not make voters feel confident; it only make the selection more difficult. History has shown us that delayed decisions have cost us dearly in human life and property. We cannot afford to ignore the illegal alien problem, no matter how Dennis spins the description. In fact, his description, “Undocumented immigrants” is totally wrong! An immigrant is one who enters the country following the laws and rules that country has established. His pandering to the left wing whackos is so obvious it’s disgusting.

  5. jloveland says:

    Re: “Yes and No answers show the core of an individuals beliefs, and also show courage of their convictions.”

    No.

  6. Danielle says:

    Wolf and the paid supporters in the audience were plants and yet she still made a fool of herself

    “”PLEASE YOUTUBE”” THE IRAN VOTE AND IRAQ WAR VET CLAPPING AGAINST ATTACKING IRAN WITH HIS MOM

    Hillary also stated that she thought the american education system served us well ?? NOT ! !

    AND THE TAX CAP

    Hillary votes no to win votes but she won’t speak the truth. Barack has the courage to speak the truth. Citizens need everybody to have drivers liscense so they can be monitored for insurance and accidents and alcohol related deaths. He also pointed out the need to PASS an imigration bill to get those people on a path to citizenship. They will be needed to feel like americans so they can keep our social secuirty system fluid.

    Hillary also got BUSTED on her statement about not RAISING THE CAP on social secuirty because she says the tax increase will hurt the middle class!

    Barack stated that the 6% getting paid 97,000.00 a year is NOT THE MIDDLE CLASS !

    Hillary also stated that she thought the american education system served us well ?? NOT ! !

    Hillary also got BUSTED on her vote for the kyle Lieberman and the mother and the Iraq war veteran son who clapped when the rest of the candidates pointed out they were AGAINST the Kyle Lieberman bill to make the Iranian guard a terrorist organization and how the bill also allows for Bush to keep troops in iraq !!

    Yes Hillary got busted BIG TIME the truth always comes out.

    Thank God we have a candidate like Barack Obama who speaks the truth and doesn’t shift back and forth trying to get votes. Hillarys thinking people won’t catch her shifting her point of view from one location (town) to another as she lies lies lies trying to sway the american voters !!

  7. The sad point is that television networks have lost the reasoning for televised debates. It’s not about ratings, CNN and NBC, its about providing a public service.

    If we want a debate where the audience asks questions, cool, I like the idea. But you can’t cut journalists out of the equation. Just get rid of the talking heads.

    How about this, try pulling political analysts from the biggest newspapers in the nation, you know, journalists who actually pose good questions and don’t try to make themselves the story. The right journalists are willing to ask the right questions for content, not for the good zinger as Hornseth said.

    There has to be some sort of organization to debates, but you need the right people asking the right questions and for the right reason. That reason is to provide information to the public so it can make an informed decision in 2008.

  8. Actually, I CAN imagine a world in which no journalists are allowed. Pretty sure we have that right now in too many places around the world .

    I kinda’ thought the idea was to increase the opportunity for journalists to mix it up with the candidates. And very sure I’d not be comfortable with anyone making the decision of who qualifies to be a journalist. I like inclusion and lots of debates from lots of angles.

    Hasn’t anyone noticed that this time around we’ve had more debates, from more questioners, with more candidates than ever before? Democracy is messy, yup. It’s just better than anything else they’ve thought up.

    Besides, I’m trying to figure out if we should give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

    And, besides, again – how many of you are former journalists? Maybe you’re just jealous and would like to get back into the fray.

    I like the Rowdy Crowd group – but I’m positive sure I’d not like you folks deciding what kinds of questions can be asked and who can ask them.

  9. bbenidt says:

    Absolutely true that there need to be some yes or no answers on some issues. And journalists should press for them. But candidates should also push back when yes or no is too idiotic.

    I love the idea of having political analysts who aren’t bigfoot stars asking questions. It’s the star bullshit that gets in the way. And let’s have a panel where kids ask questions, and retired people, and homeless people, and undocumented workers (with bags over their heads?), and Iraqi citizens, and penguins.

    For my taste, the C-SPAN televised town meetings are still the best way to get to know candidates. They show candidates answering questions from real people without the seductive glow of national media.

    And, Michael, I’m still trying to decide whether you should have a driver’s license.

  10. Kenny says:

    So pushing Hillary to reconcile her unreconcilable positions (plural) on Mexican drivers licenses is a mean, underhanded thing?

    To liberals, this requires a nuanced multi-phased complex answer that the masses couldn’t possibly absorb – and one that doesn’t lend itself to a televised debate. Poor wretched dolts in flyover country. They’re not capable of reasoning.

    The governor of Hillary’s home state had a concrete proposal to do just such a thing. My God. She needs to go home and hide under Bill’s skirt if she can’t be questioned about this. And you people need stop shooting messengers (even ones on your own network).

    I’m starting to feel really good about Nov. ’08

  11. Kenny and Michael, great comments. This is the kind of rowdy debate we’re looking for.

    I did see, on another blog I can’t recall, someone calling Wolf “the worst moderator ever.”

  12. jloveland says:

    I hear Rowdy Crowders say both “ we love rowdy debate” and “we need more civil debate.” I’m pretty shallow, so this makes my empty little head hurt. Are rowdy and civil mutually exclusive? How can a debate be both rowdy and civil? (Rowvil?)

  13. “This is a question where there seems to be an opportunity for a yes or no answer,”

    I realize Wolf was pushing, but we also have to honest and realize that when Wolf presented the question as an opportunity for a yes or no answer the audiences applause reflected how alot of us feel.
    It was not a ticking time bomb or hypothetical question.
    YES, and if so why ?
    NO, and if so why ?

  14. Joe, you put your finger on my quandary. How do you be both interesting and human in writing or debate? Hunter Thompson stoked up on chemicals and just let it rip with no attempt at being civil. And it was a gas to read. But did he change any minds, or just entertain the choir? Boring “on the one hand and on the other” writing doesn’t engage any readers either.

    Let’s keep exploring “rowvil.”

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