Saturday, August 08, 2015

Debate-Gate

Fox Tries to Roll Trump

I try to stay abreast of political happenings and have suffered through many presidential- and other candidate-debates (actually very little debating) through the years. The 2016 elections are a long way off and so I decided to skip the latest presidential debate planned and programmed by Fox News the other evening. Ten “debaters” are way too many. Since there are 17 candidates, there was a mini-debate for the seven lowest in the polls that preceded the main event by a few hours. The whole thing couldn't pass the smell-test as far as fairness was concerned, especially since polls are often—if not most often—rigged to advance the agenda of the polling outfits.

I checked in on a few minutes of each debate mostly out of curiosity but had decided to check the media outlets after the debates to get a feel furnished by the commentators for what happened. I watched the beginning minutes of the main debate and realized in the first exercise (a showing of hands, as in grade school), offered by Bret Baier, who inquired as to which losing campaigners/debaters would pledge support in 2016 for whoever the republican candidate would be and promise not to become a third-party opponent in the general election.

All the candidates but Donald Trump pledged support and disavowed any third-party ambitions. His position was already well-known to Baier, so the transparency was obvious. Fox was out to “get” Trump, whose presence was the main reason the program broke viewing records for Cable. Fox's guru, Charles Krauthammer, apparently hates Trump—has called him a “rodeo clown”—and has let his disdain for the man be thoroughly documented in his daily appearances on network programs, especially the one conducted by Baier. I'm not a Trump supporter and agree with most of what Fox and Krauthammer put out, but the anti-Trump agenda has been withering and unfair.

The Fox “anchors,” Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, were well-prepared and knew exactly how they would conduct what would likely have many “gotcha” questions not just for Trump but also for the others. I saw Kelly begin her questioning of Trump, a nearly hysterical production of names Trump had called women, with her point obviously being that Trump was a woman-hater.

Both Baier and Kelly obviously meant to “bait” Trump into going off, which, of course, he did. This is why people tuned-in. Wallace did the same thing, hitting Trump with questions about bankruptcies. I just saw the start of that but I doubt that Trump thought of mentioning that Obama took both General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy in 2009, compliments to the losing shareholders of the whole U.S. government.

Later, in a tweet or something, Trump messaged about fire coming from Kelly's eyes or wherever, with this being taken as an insult regarding her “period.” This level of political incorrectness was just too much, whether Trump meant it that way or not. Male soldiers probably worry about combat alongside women soldiers over the same matter but, of course, would not say so publicly. So, Trump was dis-invited from something called the Red State Gathering in Atlanta over the weekend. He was to be the keynote speaker Saturday night. How better to get a crowd?

The debates make good entertainment for some but the actual debates are often between the interrogators and the candidates and not just among the campaigners. The pas de trois back and forth across the stage (Matthews, audience, candidates) by MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2008 was the show-stopper of them all. These newsies are just as interested, if not more, in their performances as in the event. The ego-quotient is high all around.

Fox's most credible female anchor is Greta Van Susteren, who looks the part as well as gets the job done. Kelly is like all the other female anchors/reporters, dressed as scantily as possible and full of fury. The big winner may be Trump when the dust settles. While his TV antagonists and opponents “rehearsed” for the debate, he made it plain that he could respond on the spot. This was refreshing if not very informative.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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