Stephanopoulos defends debate questioning

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George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson have been taking a lot of flak over their performance as moderators of last night’s debate between Democratic presidential primary rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

“This debate was among the worst, if not the bottom of the lot. And that this is largely the fault of ABC News, ” said Mike Hoyt at the Columbia Journalism Review.

American Journalism Review’s Rem Reider took it even further: “The real loser of the Wednesday night debate in Philadelphia was journalism.”

For his part, Stephanopoulos defends the questions and the questioners:

“The vote for the president,” Stephanopoulos said, “is one of the most personal” decisions that someone makes.

“When people make that choice, they take into account how candidates stand on the issues,” he said, but also are concerned with “experience, character [and] credibility.”

“You can’t find a presidential election where those issues didn’t come into play,” he said.

Stephanopoulos explained that since the candidates are not far apart policy-wise, the “core of the nomination fight” has been about these issues.

[Continue reading Stephanopoulos Defends Performance]

Almost 19,000 comments have been posted on the ABC News site as of this writing, with negative comments against the network running 8-to-1 over positives, according to the Associated Press.

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1 Response to “Stephanopoulos defends debate questioning”


  1. 1 carlcaceres April 21, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Giving an opinion on something like a debate is always going to be a subjective matter with differing opinions on both sides. However, with that being said, when the overwhelming majority of viewers and pundits were that upset with the debate questioning it is worth giving the issue a second look. I thought it was interesting that Obama was targeted most because there seems to be a commonly held notion that the media favors Obama over Clinton, yet the vigorous questioning directed toward the Illinois senator seems to prove that if this is not a myth it is a misconception when overgeneralized… In some ways the media is between a rock and a hard place when attempting to moderate debates by asking “good” questions because people can easily argue that they were too easy or too hard on the candidates. In this situation though, the complaints may be valid because they centered on the petty nature and content of the questions asked in general.


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