Soft Ballin' Debates; Interviews & The Guilty 'We'

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posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 12:43 PM
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This year has been, sadly, more of the same, when it comes to asking questions of the candidates (presidential and vice presidential). I watch interviews, debates and speeches and it is so incredibly frustrating; I am left feeling cheated and talked-down-to.

Are we, as a country, really happy with the way candidates choose to/are forced to answer questions? How is it, that every interviewer and debate monitor has nothing of substance to ask? If an actual issue is raised, why do we accept the deflection or convoluted mish-mash of catch phrase and surface skimming?

It is pathetic. It is insulting. And it is frightening.

"Great debate skills" should not be the accepted and proliferated response when any candidate manages to successfully avoid even the softball questions. The candidates don't get all the blame though; the professional news media shares equally in the shame.

When a candidate avoids the question or changes the issue completely, then they should call them on it. Force them to answer the question or move on to the next one. Show all the questions they refuse to/can not answer.

If all interviews/debates were done in this manner, then maybe we, as a country, would learn something and make an educated choice for once.

After you ask about foreign policy, ask questions that actually matter. Fine, start with a softball intro into the topic, but don't allow catch-phrase politics to be the answer to the issue. Continue with it, ask specific questions that actually matter.

Here's one for you:

---

Syria is controlled by a government which is, arguably, more ‘radical’ than Iran; they sit on tons of oil; have an incredibly expensive and expansive natural gas system...and yet we are helping them, very much so, with their nuclear ambitions...why is that?

Why do you continue to address the "Iranian Threat", but talk of Syria is disturbingly absent?

What would you do differently?

---

I am not a journalist and I do not interview for a living, but I think that it is a question that everyone would appreciate an answer to. It is a situation which brings to light several contradictions in our nation’s current, observable, policy towards Iran. Yet, questions like this are never asked of the candidates. We allow them to rehash stump speeches and call it a substantive answer; we allow the media to be ‘ok’ and to run with this type of soft question/no answer politics.

And here may be the real problem: We are the real problem.

Those running for office and the media are happy with spewing flavor-of-the-week rhetoric, but we are happy enough to allow it. We eat it up, we share in their manufactured rage and we truly believe we know what’s going on.

Is the American public so ignorant, so...stupid...as to not only allow, but to embrace this phony system? Those who are politically active are more then happy to talk your ear off about rumors of 'he-said, she-said' or how the media is too hard on their candidate, but bring up an actual issue and they run like you just shot a rifle into the air...

…they refuse to listen and seem to genuinely not give a #.

There may be a system of media which is set up to keep us ignorant...but if a 20-something stoner can figure it out, what the hell is keeping the rest out you in silent consent?


[edit on 10/3/0808 by spines]

[edit on 10/3/0808 by spines]




posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by spines
 


The pundits were wondering who won the debate by stating how many sound bites came out of them. I would think Lincoln would fail a debate badly by using that as a measure. They do not want substance and claimed Sen Biden was boring because he stated facts and figures. The press wants a one sentence quip the can use over and over again. They don't want answers that take a while to explain, the viewers will zap over to another channel.
It is both the media's and the viewers' fault. It is absolutely sad that this is how the people who are vying for the most powerful job in the world have to behave. An MTV style election, to keep people interested.
I guess this is progress.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by spines
 


Great post! S&F and Thank You.

And I agree completely with your point. I think it has to do with the desire on the part of the politicos to pretend they 'rule' this country, rather than work for the citizens thereof, as is really the case.

And the media lets them get away with it...

Remember the comment a while back about why Palin was not giving interviews? Something to do with wanting to make sure the press would be properly defferential...

These people are our employees not our rulers. We the citizenry should be able to grill them until they answer, sweat or run crying from the room...


I'll see if I can find a link...



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by kidflash2008
reply to post by spines
 

It is both the media's and the viewers' fault. It is absolutely sad that this is how the people who are vying for the most powerful job in the world have to behave. An MTV style election, to keep people interested.
I guess this is progress.


I have heard the 'mtv' sentiment come from more than one mouth and I don't think we can blame this on an 'MTV-Style' campaign. This campaign is more of the same and only gets the 'MTV-Style' label because it has a larger than usual youth involvement.

The candidates refuse to actually answer the questions posed and run campaigns based around sound clips, name dropping and 'flavor of the week' non-issues: Nothing new this year.

The media refuses to ask substantive questions, follow up questions or address actual issues. Instead, they opt for softball questions which beg to be answered with gimmicky non-answers: Nothing new this year.

The American people refuse to demand accountability, honesty or any kind of actual conversation. We seem more than willing to be talked down to and treated like ignorant children: Nothing new this year.

People my age are blamed for the lack of quality in this year’s election and people my age are blamed for the lack of quality in every election recently. Either we don't care enough because we are all ignorant fools or we care too much and our ignorance ruins the quality of the product...

...seems like passing the blame when the blame is all of ours.

Ask yourselves, "Do I know any of the candidates positions on any other issue except what it is like to put lipstick on a pig or if we need change in Washington? Am I adding to the quality of the elections or am I content with the system as it is now?"



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
I think it has to do with the desire on the part of the politicos to pretend they 'rule' this country, rather than work for the citizens thereof, as is really the case.


The worst part is that the country has no idea that those in power are supposed to 'work for us'. We watch congress and the courts and the administration act with seemingly little regard towards all those...small people...and we don't care just as long as we can dodge the short end of the stick this administration.


Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
And the media lets them get away with it...


The media doesn't let them get away with it, the media holds the door and drives the getaway car while we destroy the surveillance tapes.

We all walk around and complain to eachother about how politicians lie...and then we elect more politicians and eat up the 'new' lies and pretend it has nothing to do with us; that we are powerless.

[edit on 10/3/0808 by spines]

[edit on 10/3/0808 by spines]



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 07:57 PM
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I am personally frustrated at the coverage of the vice presidential debates that include only sound-bites of Sarah Palin being "folksy." Yes, she was occasionally folksy but I was far more interested in her position on the issues, which could only be gleaned from actually listening to her.

The media is in the business of appealing to the widest possible audience, and they know that gossip, sensationalism and cliches capture people's interest the most easily. They also know that the average viewer's attention span is very short. It is in part our fault as the audience that we do not demand more intellectual rigor, or require a deeper exploration of the issues. If enough viewers demand these things we'll get them.

At the same time, many people listen only to the brief clips they hear and see on the nightly news or just scan the headlines. Of course they're not going to get a full picture of the candidates from those alone.

There is plenty of information available on both candidates. For one thing, they both have websites that are very informative. Then there are innumerable articles in newspapers and magazines that range widely in depth and investigative reporting. In addition, I have read two books written by Barack Obama and a few about him (I admit I haven't read any by McCain). One can't get enough information from just viewing television or scaning "People" Magazine; one has to read in some depth.

I feel the debates gave me a lot of information about the candidates' views and positions on a variety of issues, in large part because I have also read up on them.

An informed audience has to read, something people don't seem to have time to do anymore.

[edit on 4-10-2008 by Sestias]



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias

An informed audience has to read, something people don't seem to have time to do anymore.

[edit on 4-10-2008 by Sestias]


I disagree.

It isn't that they don't have time to do it; they don't want to do it.

The voting public in America, for the most part, is lazy and complacent, needing 30 second sound-bites instead of actual news to satisfy their attention span....which is equivalent to that of a fruit fly. They want to be entertained, not informed.

They are lazy. They don't want to research or dig for information on the candidates or on the issues. They want someone to decide for them....they want it easy. The media knows this; hence the reporting of "entertainment news" 80% of the time and "real news" 5% of the time (the other 15% is commercials).

They are complacent. They don't think that DC politics or national politics make a difference in their day to day lives. So, they are happy with the status quo and keep voting the incumbants back into office. So, they go to the voting booth and vote for who and what they know. They aren't too comfortable with change.

They want sound bites, because they have the attention span of fruit flies. Most won't sit still long enough to pay attention to anyone or anything. They are too wrapped up in their own lives and flit from one thing to another. They think that if they spend 5 minutes glancing at the headlines on CNN.com or catch 10 minutes of sound bites at the top of the hour on a cable news network, they are caught up and informed on the subjects effecting the world today.

They want entertainment. They don't want to be informed. They don't find digging for information, reading websites, or reading books about politics and politicians "entertaining". It's not fun for most people. They would rather be watching Dancing with the Stars or Gray's Anatomy or Oprah. That's entertainment for them and doesn't tax their minds. It is basically good, clean, mindless fun.

This is the majority of the voting public of America. The minority of us, including the ones on this site, for the most part, don't stand a chance of changing things.

Doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't try, but we aren't the majority.



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 09:46 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias
I am personally frustrated at the coverage of the vice presidential debates that include only sound-bites of Sarah Palin being "folksy." Yes, she was occasionally folksy but I was far more interested in her position on the issues, which could only be gleaned from actually listening to her.


I dare you, or anyone, to find me one part of that debate, or any debate in my life span (I am 21), that actually addressed issues past the surface. Find me one question that was anything different, informative or enlightening. Pick a candidate, any candidate, it makes no difference.

You can't.

The debates do nothing but ask the candidates to give their stump speeches in question and answer format. The actual issues which affect us locally, nationally, internationally...those issues are never brought up and the candidates are more than willing to follow that status quo.

Does the media coverage offer sound bites and cute little montage pieces? Yea, it does. But if the politicians actually gave a crap about any one of us they would at least attempt to address actual issues...or try to explain their thoughts and possible solutions.

I do agree that we are the main problem; that most people are content with listening to the talking heads and regurgitating what they hear as thought. It is easy to blame everyone else, but if we demanded accountability, honest scrutiny and questions, then the rest of the system would be forced to comply.

The MSM refuses to act as anything besides children throwing rocks at one another...stop tuning in. The candidate refuses to answer questions or address issues outside of the pre-packaged 'stump'...stop supporting them.

We don't have to choose between two assholes vying for the ultimate ego trip, and we don't have to listen to the media who tells us how to think.

We choose this for ourselves.

[edit on 10/4/0808 by spines]



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 10:49 PM
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reply to post by spines
 


We do choose this ourselves, and we are the major problem.

In my mind, it is due to the reason I stated in the post above yours. It isn't all of us, but those of us that do care, that do dig, that do research, that do try our hardest to educate ourselves on the issues are too few.

And, the debates play into the "entertainment over information" mentality. They give the candidates 2 minutes to talk and 30 seconds to rebut? What can anyone really learn in that time by listening to people who are just saying what they think the majority of voters want to hear?



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by skeptic1
What can anyone really learn in that time by listening to people who are just saying what they think the majority of voters want to hear?


Unfortunately, I would say that they are saying what we are told we want to hear.

There are always two or three base 'issues' which shape the course of elections. National Security, Family Values, Economy and Gossip seem to be the norm (insert/subtract where needed). These seem like worthwhile issues and they would be, if they were discussed with any degree of depth or clarity.

Instead of hearing questions and responses which lay out cogent reason or possible course of action, we hear how one candidate is 'strong on homeland security', or how another wants to 'improve the economy'. Rarely are the specifics discussed in any form of popular media and when they are it is in passing; a nice little bridge to reach one-liner-town-burg-ville...

In short: I wish it was simply the candidates saying what they think we want to hear. Rather, it seems to be that the candidates tell us what they are told we were told that we wanted to hear.

(winner for most convoluted sentence: me)



posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 12:22 AM
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What we are told we want to hear?

Maybe, but look at who is doing the telling. Focus groups (made up of people, the supposed voting public), polls (taken from the people, the supposed voting public), and the media (the entertainment of the supposed voting public who provides content based on what the public wants).

Depth and clarity on issues

They are discussed with depth (not so much clarity) in the literature of the candidates; problem is, the media is not reporting on it because they can't provide depth in a 2 minute segment. The candidates can't provide depth in 30 second sound bites. And the majority of the voting public is too lazy and complacent to dig or inform themselves. They just go with the flow....


Specifics?

Exactly; they broadcast and write to meet the short attention span of the fruit fly public of this country. If people want to know what is really going on, then they need to take it upon themselves to find out. It is all about personal responsibility and not playing the blame game. Do it yourself, and don't expect others to do it for you.

Convaluted sentence?

Yep, you win the prize!!
And, in digesting it, I agree somewhat. But, like I said, we can't expect others to do what we should do for ourselves. If we want to learn, we need to do the work ourselves.





 
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