I’m spending this week experimenting with different possible forms of output for a new project I’m pursuing that involves a daily critique of American political journalism. Please share your thoughts in comments, or at email@example.com.
It’s not uncommon for political debate moderators to be critiqued the morning after.
But I’ve never seen anything like the reaction to CNN’s performance on Tuesday night.
A whole bunch of things are going on here.
Yes, the questions were idiotic, largely based on Republican talking points, and designed purely to inflict damage. Yes, the format was a total disaster, with moderators constantly cutting off responses. And yes, there was an aggressive but entirely unacknowledged shilling for a centrist agenda.
But it’s more than that. It’s about CNN, and journalism, and what qualifies as political debate today, and, ultimately, the debasement of the single most important political medium in the world to a point where it creates, sustains, and protects the kind of vacuous, violent, circus atmosphere in which people like Donald Trump thrive and democracy suffers.