The “Hey, where’s our CNN/YouTube debacle post?” post [Karl]
Sure, much of the blogosphere is already hashingÃ‚Â over the curious number of hardcore Democrats selected to ask questions at last night’s GOP debate, but there are a couple of lesser-discussed points to emphasize for the Protein Wisdom audience.
First, the fact that retired brigadier general Keith Kerr — a member of Hillary Clinton’s steering committee for gay and lesbian supporters — was flown to the debate by CNN to ask about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a nifty example of the identity politics so often skewered by our esteemed host, not unlike having children testify before Congress or give the Democrats’ radio address on childrens’ health insurance.
Second, given the general lack of interest by the GOP in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, since its enactment, one wonders whether this issue is more on the mind of Anderson Cooper than on the mind of the average Republican.Ã‚Â The same could be said of the “Log Cabin Republicans” question asked by a declared supporter of Barack Obama.Ã‚Â Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Third, in hindsight, it looks like Cooper and CNN’s DC Bureau Chief David Bohrman really didn’t have their stories straight when they were interviewed by Mary Katherine Ham before the debate:
Q: ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a bit of scandal about the screening that CNN did on its Ã¢â‚¬Å“undecided votersÃ¢â‚¬Â for the last Democratic debate. The diamonds-and-pearls question was attacked by the questioner herself. There were some allegations that several of the voters were in fact liberal activists on quite a few issues (and one Democratic Party operative). WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the process for checking these YouTube questioners and their affiliations?
AC: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, campaign operatives are people, too. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t investigate the background of people asking questionsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not our job. Last time around (in the Democrat CNN/YouTube debate), there were questions from Joe BidenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaignÃ¢â‚¬Â¦and we had some fun with that (disclosing who they were posed by). Things like that are generally pretty obvious. In watching these videos after a while, you can kind of tell, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really serious about an issue and whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just parroting a press release or a talking point.Ã¢â‚¬Â
DB: Ã¢â‚¬Å“If itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a loaded question, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll click back and checkÃ¢â‚¬Â¦some need vetting, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll do that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re doing the best we canÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but if a question is interesting on its face, it almost doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Bohrman also pops up on The Caucus blog at the NYT:
Most questions online have been pulled from public viewing for review, but many of the remaining posts involve asking the candidates to defend their opposition to gay marriage and abortion. Those kinds of Ã¢â‚¬Å“lobbying grenadesÃ¢â‚¬Â would be disqualified by the CNN selection team, Mr. Bohrman said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are quite a few things you might describe as Democratic Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgotchas,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ and we are weeding those out,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. Bohrman said. CNN wants to ensure that next WednesdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Republican event is Ã¢â‚¬Å“a debate of their party.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In reality, not so much, leaving open the classic question of whether CNN is stupid, nakedly partisan, or both.Ã‚Â
A question about gay marriage would have at least been more relevant than “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the Log Cabin Republican question.Ã‚Â And maybe an actual Republican might have asked it.
As for “whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just parroting a press release or a talking point,” let’s keep in mind this question:
My name is LeeAnn Anderson and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and these are my kids Evan and May. Maya is from China and we adopted him to give her a better life. We never dreamed that she would that she’d be exposed to lead after leaving China, and now we find trains like this that are covered with lead in our home.
My question for the candidates are, what are you going to do to make sure that these kind of toys don’t make their way into our homes and that we have safe toys that are made in America again and we keep jobs in America?
I guess this was too subtle for CNN to figure out that LeAnn was a union activist.
Next time, CNN may want to stick with questions from the snowmen.Ã‚Â Better to intend to have people laugh at you than to achieve it unintentionally.
Update:Ã‚Â FNC’s Bret Baier — guest-hosting Special Report — reports that Kerr was asked after the debate about his Clinton affiliation.Ã‚Â Kerr reportedly responded that CNN had not asked him about it and thus he had not told them about it.Ã‚Â Because of the irony.