April 18, 2008

Hannity's laughing at you, George, for making him the only clear winner of last Wednesday's debate.

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Hannity: The liberal blogs are losing their minds today in part because I suggested the question to George Stephanopoulos Tues afternoon on my radio show.

While we've had plenty of criticism for MSNBC's and CNN's debate coverage this season, nothing they did came anywhere near to what ABC pulled last Wednesday and Stephanopoulos' on-air dumpster diving for gotcha questions on Hannity's radio show will likely go down as one of the dumbest moves by a debate moderator ever. We've come to expect smear jobs like this from the likes of Hannity, and the Dems have rightly refused to attend any debate on the GOP/Fox News Channel because of it, but now we have ABC News's Chief Washington Correspondent and former Democratic presidential political adviser openly seeking their advice and unapologetically emulating them.

How is it that Stephanopoulos, of all people, thought this was a good move? Josh Marshall offers this depressingly valid observation:

I was mulling over the ABC debate this morning and the moderators' claim that knocking Obama with a more or less uninterrupted stream of Swift Boat gotchas was justified by focusing the debate on 'electability'. And it occurred to me that we have now crossed an important threshold where the Republican operative cadre has sufficiently disciplined and trained the press (and more than a few Democrats) that their own role may simply be redundant. ...

Thankfully, there are still more than a handful of journalists who aren't GOP pawns who together have penned a letter slamming ABC for its debate debacle.

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