The third Democratic debate has more substance, less fodder for pundits

Even by the standards of such events, the reaction to the third Democratic presidential primary debate, on ABC and Univision last night, has been tired. There was nothing unusual in the clichéd post-game chyrons (“GLOVES COME OFF IN THIRD DEMOCRATIC DEBATE”) or the contradictory accounts of who won and lost. Major outlets seemed to be grasping for anything exciting. “Biden fails to step up or fall down,” Politico’s banner headline screamed this morning (is that news?). The debate “was the best of Biden, and the Biden of Biden,” The New York Times wrote, cryptically. We saw the Democratic candidates “clash over how far to push their ideas” (per the Times); “argue over core issues—and the direction of the party” (per The Washington Post); “spar over health care” (per The Wall Street Journal). In other words, we saw them do exactly what they did in the first and second rounds of debates. Debate fatigue is real: much of what the candidates said on stage was predictable and repetitive. Journalists didn’t help by playing up expectations. Readers were told to look out for fireworks: between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; between Joe Biden and everyone else. But we hardly saw that. The night’s most conflictual moment—in which Julián Castro made repeated, thinly veiled jabs at Biden’s age—was poorly reviewed by members of the press. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked him during an exchange on healthcare. (Later, Castro said he wasn’t insinuating... Continue reading at 'Columbia Journalism Review'

[ Columbia Journalism Review | 2019-09-13 12:04:26 UTC ]
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