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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lame CBS Broadcasts Only First Hour of Republican Foreign Policy Debate

So if you were watching the Republican Presidential debate on foreign policy on CBS last night, you were treated to its ending after the first hour, with an announcement that the remaining half hour would be available online.

Now, I'm all in favor of television being available online, but -

What about viewers who may not have been near their computers, or would rather watch the debate on a screen larger than their smartphones?

I'm not a Republican, and I enjoy the jokes about Republicans not having a foreign policy as much as any non-Republican, but CBS's decision not to broadcast the entire 90-minute debate strikes me as a profound disservice to our electoral process.

The truth is, Democrats, Independents, not only Republicans, were disadvantaged by CBS's decision.  It's good for anyone or any political persuasion to see what the person who will likely face Barack Obama in the 2012 thinks about major foreign policy issues.   As Walter Lippmann pointed out way back in the 1920s, democracy is a sham if voters are uninformed.

That's certainly what William Paley thought when he took command of the CBS radio network in the 1920s.   Coverage of all aspects of elections remained first and foremost in his network when it added television to its roster in the 1940s.

I guess it's not surprising that CBS shows so little understanding of current elections and what they require.  Like all the mass media, CBS has shown little understanding of Occupy Wall Street, and the resurgence of direct democracy it embodies.   CBS is an equal opportunity abuser of representative as well as direct democracy.

And what was so important that CBS had to cut short its debate coverage?  A rerun of NCIS - one of my favorite shows on television - but I bet even Gibbs would have given the president of CBS a head-slap on Saturday night if he could.

Occupy Wall Street Chronicles, Part 1

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