Excerpted from “Fox News' GOP Debate Debacle
” by Matt Latimer, The Daily Beast
, May 6, 2011 | 12:25am
he main problem with last night’s GOP debate
is that most of the diehard political junkies in Washington—yours truly among them—had to be reminded that it was even taking place. The many, many voters who missed this clash of “Governor Tim Pawlenty
and the also-rans” can continue their lives without a care.
The real loser of tonight’s South Carolina encounter is Fox News Channel
. What on earth possessed the network to host this asterisk-in-the making? Fox wasted airfare, production costs, and the time of some of their marquee names—Chris Wallace, Juan Williams, and Bret Baier—who asked questions of a bunch of also-rans without even pretending to listen to their answers. The first clue this debate was a disaster was when the moderators began to ask the placeholders on stage about candidates who weren’t even there: Mitt Rom-bot, Trump
, Daniels, Huckabee, Bachmann
, and Trump, again.
Ironically for a network accused of right-wing bias, Fox may have done the Republican Party a monumental disservice. In the midst of one of the Obama administration’s greatest achievements—the killing of Osama bin Laden
—the network made the Republican presidential primary look like a low-budget Star Trek
convention, where only the guy who played Dr. McCoy and a bunch of extras bothered to show up. And the network’s overuse of a loud, annoying Price Is Right
bell to cut candidates off in mid-sentence only added to the aura that this affair was a tawdry game show waiting for someone to mercifully hit a gong. …