Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
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03-06-2017, 02:15 AM
Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
There used to be top-level level-headed rational and honest debates up until the 80's or 90's then POOF! The closest thing we have now might be Bill Maher, which is still more entertainment, short Q&A, less than civil at times, than real debates that happened on programs like Firing Line or something. Is it just because it's not as profitable?

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03-06-2017, 03:11 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
(03-06-2017 02:15 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  There used to be top-level level-headed rational and honest debates up until the 80's or 90's then POOF! The closest thing we have now might be Bill Maher, which is still more entertainment, short Q&A, less than civil at times, than real debates that happened on programs like Firing Line or something. Is it just because it's not as profitable?

It seems to me that in the 90's it mostly all degenerated into screaming matches. And people like Ted Koppel on Nightline would not enforce civility such as calling down people for continual interruptions. I stopped watching due to this. Expectations were lowered. A few programs, such as Rachel Maddow sometimes approach civil debate, but not long form debate. NPR's Diane Rehm sometimes had some civil debates from time to time.

Real debate is dead any more. Bill O'Reilly was very profitable. "Cut off his microphone!" This is what people wanted if ratings tell the tale.

Yog Sothoth! Yog Sothoth! Come back old ones! Yog Sothoth!

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03-06-2017, 04:07 AM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 04:31 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
(03-06-2017 02:15 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  There used to be top-level level-headed rational and honest debates up until the 80's or 90's then POOF! The closest thing we have now might be Bill Maher, which is still more entertainment, short Q&A, less than civil at times, than real debates that happened on programs like Firing Line or something. Is it just because it's not as profitable?

I think the politicians themselves discovered you could divert people's attention in ways useful to them personally. The process became about gotcha moments and other soundbites, since that's what people found entertaining.
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03-06-2017, 06:06 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
The rise of right-wing media (lookin' at you, Fox) was the death knell to proper journalism. The race to the bottom has been gathering steam ever since.

By the way, brilliant documentary about two serious debaters who truly despised one another: Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal.

It's called Best of Enemies and is well worth the 87 minutes.

A taste:


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03-06-2017, 06:35 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
The only debates I've ever seen just involve people who aren't able to wait their turn to talk.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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03-06-2017, 07:36 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
I'd mark the first season of Survivor as the cusp of television's downfall.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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03-06-2017, 08:13 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
Looking at the thread title, my first instinct was to say that first we'd need to find some intelligence in today's politics.

I mostly think the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and "infotainment" which has debased discourse to the level of rooting for a sports team rather than legitimate concern for the direction of the country, plays the larger role. I think we need some form of "fairness doctrine" again, but with the rise of the internet, I can't think of any solutions without (almost inevitable) potential to be worse than the actual problem.
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03-06-2017, 08:34 AM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
I don't think there has ever been any "formal" debates televised. Formal debates are very structured, a little boring but informative. As I recall there are several styles of formal debates and I don't think any national politician has participated in one since the Lincoln-Douglas debates back in 1859.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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03-06-2017, 06:33 PM (This post was last modified: 03-06-2017 09:11 PM by Dark Light.)
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
I am actually pleasantly surprised by the cordial and thoughtful feedback.

@Charlie, I think those are some interesting and valid points, though I couldn't disagree more about Rachel Maddow. I think her show in particular tends to use absurd hyperbole to the point of face-palming, and has a history of using exaggerated and misleading headlines so much as to label it propoganda, same as O'Reily. I have surprisingly recently discovered that Fox seems to be making some strides in the right direction with Tucker Carlson though. After looking into him a bit I was surprised to see video of the late great Hitchens praising him as well. His program seems to be a more fair and generous conservative perspective without a modicum of respect for his opposition and no screaming. Nowhere to the degree of the previous program I had mentioned before though, Firing Line. Of note, I have only seen clips, and not a program in its entirety.

@Grauw, I couldn't agree more, but I don't think it can happen again on television. I think there is hope for something like that on the internet though.

@Dance, I think having to knowledgeable people debating each other with cogent, but diametrically opposed arguments is very entertaining personally. More importantly it helps me make decisions on which policies to support, which ideas to advocate for, which candidates to vote for. It's valuable even if it's incredibly boring.




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03-06-2017, 07:34 PM
RE: Why Aren't There any Intelligent Televised Political Debabtes?
NPR has a program, Intelligence Squared, that features structured Oxford style debates.

http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/

Might be something you are looking for.

Yog Sothoth! Yog Sothoth! Come back old ones! Yog Sothoth!

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