Visual Gimmicks Can't Spark Real Debate

Cal Thomas | Syndicated Columnist | Thursday, July 26, 2007

Visual Gimmicks Can't Spark Real Debate

Did you watch the CNN-YouTube Democratic presidential debate Monday night? I salute CNN for trying to make things look a little different with members of the public asking video questions, but these things aren’t real debates and the public gets more style than substance – more soundbites than real convictions.

Democrats are questioned differently from Republicans. Democrats are rarely challenged on what they say and if their current statements differ from previous ones; they are almost never accused of flip-flopping. Republicans are always asked about such things.

What we need are real debates, not the TV version with visual gimmicks and sometimes goofy answers. Are these people responding to focus groups, or telling us what they really think? And how do we know? Real debates involve facts and reasoned arguments. These dog and pony shows are, well, dog and pony shows. They contribute little, except image, and we have enough of that already.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.