Beckel, Thomas…Liberal, Conservative…Liar, Liar…Disgrace, Disgrace.
Yesterday, after the first Presidential debate had concluded, USA Today columnists Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel’s joint feature was posted on the USA Today website; this morning, the same feature graced the newspaper’s print edition, on its op-ed page. Thomas and Beckel do a regular “point-counterpoint”-style debate which is presented as a conversation, and this one was about sprucing up the presidential debates.
“Cal Thomas is a conservative columnist. Bob Beckel is a liberal Democratic strategist. But as longtime friends, they can often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot” is how USA TODAY always introduces the hackneyed format. The most recent feature began like this:
BOB: Wednesday ‘s debate was déjà vu all over again. It made me wish for a fresher format. The two major party candidates for president looked and sounded presidential, standing behind two lecterns with a nice television-friendly backdrop facing a single moderator. But we’ve seen it many — too many — times before.
CAL: Don’t forget the television-friendly ties both wore after their handlers probably spent hours coming up with the right color.
BOB: And then there was the “spin room” where surrogates for both candidates claimed victory for their guy. It resembled a summer TV rerun: same script, but with different “stars.” The debate was broken into six segments, each with a question chosen by the moderator. Each was given the same amount of time to respond to the question followed by a period of discussion. The moderator, Jim Lehrer, did try to keep the candidates focused on the question at hand, but each response was obviously practiced. Except for those with HD quality sets, debates haven’t changed much since 1960.
Wait—what debate did these guys watch? Obviously, none at all. Continue reading