Where Was the Outrage?
ABC News drew both record ratings and a heap of complaints about how Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos moderated the Democratic presidential debate, criticism that Stephanopoulos on Thursday called a sign of how much people care. By midafternoon Thursday, more than 15,600 comments were posted on ABC News’ Web site, the tone overwhelmingly negative.
—David Bauder, AP television writer
When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates’ debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news—in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.
—Tom Shales, The Washington Post
In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.
—Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher
Forget Clinton and Obama. The real loser of the Wednesday night debate in Philadelphia was journalism. The relentless rat-a-tat-tat of questions about campaign distractions by ABC moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos was a vivid illustration of what is so wrong with so much that passes for political coverage today.
—Rem Rieder, American Journalism Review
The political fallout from the Philadelphia face-off between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was all but eclipsed yesterday by a fierce debate about Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. The ABC moderators found themselves under fire for focusing on campaign gaffes and training most of their ammunition on Obama. Huffington Post blogger Jason Linkins called the debate “utterly asinine.” Washington Post television critic Tom Shales called the duo’s performance “despicable.” Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch said the moderators “disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself.”
—Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post
- National Constitution Center