But what happened to CNN? I don't watch TV news anymore and every time I tune in to CNN or Fox, I'm reminded why. But I was shocked by Lou Dobbs. When did he become a third-rate Rush Limbaugh? How does a man who makes millions by reading the news keep a straight face while going on about the media elites at The New York Times? And how long before he starts screaming "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore?" (By the way, Dobbs and his crew of "analysts," who seemed to claim politicians were afraid to tackle immigration, were all proved wrong about one minute into the debate.)
And what happened to Anderson Cooper? I never expect much from him, but during the Democratic YouTube debate, he seemed to have a better handle on the candidates, making them stick to both time constraints and topics. Last night, he seemed a timid college student trying to cut in by saying "Time" over and over again while the candidates just kept going on.
Finally, Cooper crowed that CNN received 2,000 more questions this time around and that they differed dramatically "in style and substance." Is that because, unlike in the Democratic debate, they allowed no fewer than three plants from the other party to ask questions in the Republican debate. I'm a little torn by this. On one hand, the primary debates are meant to help Republican voters decide which Republican candidate they want representing them -- just as the Democratic debates were. On the other, a number of the questions from plants were actually good.
The question from Brigadier General Keith Kerr (Ret.) about gays in the military put the candidates on the spot. But it turns out he works (or worked) for the Hillary Campaign. (Cooper apologized for that one after the debate.)
And the question about which participant in an abortion should be punished -- woman, doctor or both -- if the procedure were made illegal is an important one often overlooked in the talking points. Too bad it was asked by a John Edwards supporter.
Again, I don't know that it's necessarily wrong to have opponents show up during these forums. But the problem for CNN is that it didn't do the same for the Democratic YouTube debate and it's just coming off a Las Vegas debate where it seemingly pushed a student to ask Hillary Clinton that ridiculous diamonds or pearls question (and included James Carville in the post-debate analysis). Like George W. Bush finding out which 30% of the country still supports them, then doing something to frustrate even those voters, CNN seems intent on finding its few remaining Republican voters and driving them into the arms of Fox News. (You just have to take a quick glance at Drudge to see how this is being played on the right.)