COMMENTS: Trail of Tiers

In political news, NBC, obviously, spent more time than its rivals on last night's debate between the eight Democratic Presidential candidates. The debate, after all, was moderated by NBC's Williams and aired on the network's sibling all-news channel MSNBC. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell counted 70 different questions asked in all. She judged that no gaffes had been committed in the "friendly exchange of views" with rivals on first-name terms and their "biggest opponent not in the room." That would be the President and Commander-in-Chief.

CBS' Jeff Greenfield (no link) concentrated on the two leading Democrats, quoting Barack Obama in the debate: "As Hillary mentioned earlier, this is a change election." The passionate enthusiasm of the support for Obama "has become a boulder-sized obstacle" to Rodham Clinton's quest for the White House. "This battle may come down to who gets to claim the mantle of change." Greenfield did not factor in John Edwards as a member of the top tier of candidates.

ABC and NBC both had their Sunday morning anchors perform political analysis. Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press felt that the second tier of candidates--Christopher Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson--benefited most from the event: "They were able to demonstrate that they belonged on that stage…They are going to hang in there." As he did yesterday, Russert altogether ignored the pair in the third tier, Dennis Kucinich and Paul Mike Gravel. On ABC, This Week's George Stephanopoulos (no link) was underwhelmed by the proceedings: "All of them were a little bit tight, a little bit nervous. They just wanted to get the butterflies out. Nothing happened to change the fundamental dynamics of the race." All seven of the men were dressed in a suit of the same color. "The same thing goes for candidates and anchors."

UPDATE: see how complicit the Tyndall Report is with the very flaws it tries to point out in others? Our apologies to Sen Gravel, whose name we changed here from Mike to Paul. It is probably a greater insult to get someone's name wrong than to ignore him altogether.


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