- Peace Garden: Get to the real issues...

Get to the real issues...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Charlie Gibson and George Stephanapoulos

You implied throughout the broadcast that you wanted to reflect the concerns of voters in Pennsylvania. Well, I’m a Pennsylvanian voter, and so are my neighbors and most of my friends and co-workers. You asked virtually nothing that reflected our everyday issues — trying to fill our gas tanks and save for college at the same time, our crumbling bridges and inadequate mass transit, or the root causes of crime here in Philadelphia. In fact, there almost isn’t enough space — and this is cyberspace, where room is unlimited — to list all the things you could have asked about but did not, from health care to climate change to alternative energy to our policy toward China to the deterioration of Afghanistan to veterans’ benefits to improving education. You ignored virtually everything that just happened in what most historians agree is one of the worst presidencies in American history, including the condoning of torture and the trashing of the Constitution, although to be fair you also ignored the policy concerns of people on the right, like immigration issues.
Here’s a question for you, George. Is it true that yesterday you appeared on the radio with conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity, and that you said you were “taking notes” when he urged you to ask a question about Obama’s supposed ties to a former member of the Weather Underground — which in fact you did. With all the fabulous resources of ABC News at your disposal, is that an appropriate way for a supposed journalist to come up with debate questions, by pandering to divisive radio shows?
uickly, a word to any and all of my fellow journalists who happen to read this open letter. This. Must . Stop. Tonight, if possible. I thought that we had hit rock bottom in March 2003, when we failed to ask the tough questions in the run-up to the Iraq war. But this feels even lower. We need to pick ourselves up, right now, and start doing our job — to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of what voters really need to know, and how we get there, that’s it’s not all horserace and “gotcha.” Although, to be blunt, I would also urge the major candidates in 2012 to agree only to debates that are organized by the League of Women Voters, with citizen moderators and questioners. Because we have proven without a doubt in 2008 that working journalists don’t deserve to be the debate “deciders.”
Charlie, I’m going to sign off this letter the way that you always sign off the news, that “I hope you had a great day.”
Because America just had a horrible night.
I admit that on the way home I listen to Hannity. It is good to know how the inane crazies are thinking. Watching last night made me look around - I thought I was on Rte. 15 fighting traffic. Closing my eyes I could hear Sean and Rush and the like feeding those questions to those two - were they wearing earpieces?

Georgie - next time spend more time on Iraq, Iran, global warming, the economy, diplomacy, Darfur, the environment, health care..... Those are the issues that really matter.

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