Peter Jennings is spinning in his grave


Never mind whether it was Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama who did better in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate on ABC.

The real story was the amazingly awful performances by moderators Charles Gibson (above) and George Stephanopoulos, who spent the first 45 minutes belaboring the campaign’s sideshow issues — and didn’t raise the level of discourse by much after that.  It was truly embarrassing.

It was so bad, in fact, that the crowd booed Gibson at the end.

More reactions HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

UPDATE: I like THIS GUY’s take.

UPDATE II (Thursday morning): The Washington Post’s Tom Shales, the nation’s preeminent TV critic, SAYS Gibson and Stephanopoulos “turned in shoddy, despicable performances.”

UPDATE III (Thurs.): THIS ONE tells you a lot about the myth of the “liberal” media.



  1. I believe it was in reporting on the Republican landslide in the 1994 elections that Mr. Jennings said that the electorate had a temper tantrum revealing his elitism so, yes, I would imagine he is spinning in his grave.

  2. C’mon, Mike, that’s pretty flimsy evidence of Jenning’s “elitism” (which seems to be the new buzzword among you pseudo-populists). You’ll recall that the 1994 off-year congressional elections resulted in a Republican resurgence in favor of Newt Gingrich’s so-called Contract With America. The electorate generally was, in fact, ill-tempered with respect to the Clinton administration and the Democratic Congress. I think Newtie and Co. were pleased to see the voters’ “temper tantrum.”

  3. Mike Carroll

    Pat-Peter Jennings apologized in a later newscast for his comments which were interpreted as an electorate responding in a child like manner-ie, electing Republicans.
    BTW-elitism comments regarding liberals.are not new to me and certainly aren’t triggered by Obama’s comments.
    What was that great line from the cartoon strip Peanuts-“I love humanity, its people I can’t stand.”

  4. Ooh. David Brooks thinks the questions from Charlie and George “were excellent.” Well, I guess that settles that. Where did so many of the rest of us get the crazy idea that the questions were idiotic? I guess David wants to make sure he gets invited again to appear on ABC.

    By the way, Mike, you forgot to mention that Jennings was a Canadian. Those folks in Canada are about as elitist as they come, aren’t they? They’re so high and mighty with their Molson beer and their “oot and aboot” way of talking. And they’re so sensitive about the fact that we REAL Americans pay them almost no attention. I remember what the great Al Capone once said: “I don’t even know what street Canada is on.”

  5. Mike Carroll

    Now Pat, I didn’t want to go there. Typical Conservative sensitivity you know.
    BTW-Ike stated, in private, that the best soldiers under his command during WW2 were the Canadians. I wonder what the hell happened.

  6. If Ike said something like that today, the Limbaughs and Hannitys would accuse him of hating our troops and trampling on the flag. They’d tell him to move to Canada. And, hey, wasn’t there a rumor that the 9/11 hijackers came here by way of Canada? (It’s an urban myth, of course, but that doesn’t matter to true patriots.)

  7. Mike: Josh Marshall at TPM also linked to the David Brooks piece and added a snarky little comment: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/189601.php

  8. One more thing, Mike: Your buddy David Brooks, who so loved the questions in last night’s debate, isn’t too keen on that stuff when the target is a Republican, as we see here: http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2008/04/brooks-its-ok-as-long-as-you-dont-do-it.html

  9. Mike Carroll

    Pat-I’m not sure what makes David Brooks mine.I’ve read far more of your ruminations over the years than his. Does that make you mine?
    I did not see the debate last night but from what I gather it is Obama supporters who are in high dudgeon over the questions which Obama evidently didn’t handle very well.
    Tell me, when did Obama’s supporters first discover that George Stepanwhatever might be a Clinton backer? His weekly national stage doesn’t seem to have bothered you until now.
    Ah yes, Republicans could always rely on softball questions in debates from those Republican leaning moderators like…..
    What’s that expression of yours “Cue the Crickets”.

  10. This is hillaryarious. Poor Hillary, week after week getting abused by pundits like Pat and asked tough questions in prior debates. Now, Obama gets asked some questions republicans on the fences (like me ha ha) want to know and Huffpo and Pat have a tantrum about unfair press? ABC News…the real fair and balanced.

  11. I’m not having a tantrum over unfair press. I’m just saying that ABC did a horrible job last night, and from what I can gather, most viewers felt the same way. When it takes these pinheads 45 minutes to get beyond the sideshow issues like flag pins, they have not exactly distinguished themselves as eminent journalists. George Stuffin’ Envelopes is beyond pathetic. At the end of the day, however, Obama seems to have weathered everything that’s been thrown at him over the past year — the Muslim thing and the middle name, the Rezco thing, Rev. Wright, flags, bittergate — am I forgetting anything? He’s still tied with or ahead of McCain, and he’s a lock for the Democratic nomination.

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