12 November 2011

CBS Is Now the Cubic Zirconia Network

The Commander in Chief debate was held on Saturday night in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This marked the 11th debate between the major candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination.  Non political junkies might complain that there have been too many debates already.  Even the most avid of politicos can suffer some fatigue from the frenetic scheduling of these debates, especially with the last one being held on Wednesday in Michigan.  Maybe there will be a debate on the Food Network that will deal exclusively with Federal nutrition policy. Unfortunately, it might have to be moderated by Rachel Ray. Yucko (sic).  But even that unappetizing of a prospect for political red meat would be better than the way the CBS, the so called Tiffany network, handled the debate.

L-Scott Pelley (CBS) R- Major Garrett 
While CBS News anchor Scott Pelley and National Journal reporter Major Garrett were not as overcaffeinated as Jim Kramer was during the recent CNBC debate, Pelley did jump the gun on the clock.  Pelley asked Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) a question and only gave him half of his time to respond.  Romney stood firm and squabbled for all of his allotted time and Pelle admitted his error and relented.

The audience at Wofford College had been somewhat boisterous, applauding enthusiastically to Speaker Newt Gingrich’s pithy replies and Paulistians supporting anything that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX 14th).  But when the subject wandered into the familiar territory of enhanced interrogation techniques which gave Rep. Paul to spout his well worn philippic for isolationism and against torture, there were audible boos from the conservative crowd.  That prompted Pelle to chastize the crowd for any signs of disapproval.  Then why not just conduct the debate in a television studio?

Mainly because CBS News cared so much about there product that they held a debate but they only broadcast 2/3rds of it   There was no pressing news story to cover nor a night-time collegiate football game. Aside from stations in South Carolina and the West Coast, CBS showed a rerun of NCIS but we were invited to continue watching on the internet.

Despite being technologically inclined, I was not sitting in front of my computer on a Saturday night. My personal debate watching included monitoring Twitter feeds on a tablet, but for me the conversion to watching the web was choppy and unwatchable.

The final part of the debate interacted with the Palmetto State’s two registered Republican senators, conservative Senator Jim De Mint (R-SC) and McCain’s understudy Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  That could have been quite interested, but it is unlikely that the segment will be widely disseminated.

Any foreign policy debate with Rep. Ron Paul will have the principled isolationism.  This gave Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) yet another opportunity to burnish his multiple ambassadorial credentials, though he utter any words in Mandarin.  But Speaker Gingrich was in top form slapping down Pelley regarding the assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki (an American citizen) as being extra-judicial as an forsworn enemy of the United States is not entitled to protections by the American criminal law system.  Foreign policy was not a strong suit of a businessman like Herman Cain, so hearing how he answered would be instructive.  What was televised from the debate continued to show Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) on his comedic charm offensive.

Pity that “Viacom” did not put this on one of their cable outlets for the full duration of the debate.  Perhaps it was not worthy of Showtime or M-TV.  But it is a mystery as to why CBS News could not stick with their own debate.  Did they think that it was just 60 minutes?  Granted CBS’s luster has been on decline for years, from Rathergate to perky Katie.  But now the crown jewel in the Tiffany Network can be appraised as cubic zirconium that is risable by its lack of journalistic commitment.

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