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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 23, 2008 / 18 Nissan 5768

Presidential debates in peril

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There may not be any more presidential debates between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, partly because of the bad aroma that ABC's interrogation prior to Pennsylvania's primary left behind in many noses.


In fact, when you consider the rising risks that televised debates pose in the age of YouTube, especially for frontrunners, we'll be lucky to see any more presidential debates at all.


North Carolina's Democratic Party has cancelled the debate that CBS had hoped to broadcast on April 27, in advance of the state's May 6 primary. It was expected to be the last of what seems to be an endless string of primary face-offs. Clinton had agreed to it, but Obama wouldn't commit. Clinton's campaign criticized Obama for that, but he shrugged off the criticism. He told reporters that he would rather spend his time meeting directly with voters. Considering the pummeling he took on ABC, who could blame him?


Besides, he said, after 21 debates the two candidates can recite each other's lines by heart. Right. That's the trouble. If they did recite each other's lines, the two liberal Democrats wouldn't sound all that different from how they sound now, at least, not on the big important issues. As a result, they almost invite questions about the small stuff, the hot-button "gotcha" questions that make exciting television.


Obama looked like he'd rather be anyplace other than the Pennsylvania debate, a heat-seeking scandal probe moderated by ABC anchormen Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. For about half of its 90 minutes, Obama faced questions that gave more importance to whether he likes wearing American flag lapel pins than how he would deal with job losses, health care, the Iraq war or rising fuel prices.


Clinton seemed only slightly more at ease as she pushed herself through yet another explanation and apology for exaggerating the sniper fire she never actually encountered in Bosnia.


E-mails of complaint poured into ABC and later into North Carolina's Democratic Party. State Chairman Jerry Meek, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, said many of the messages he received "felt the ABC debate didn't touch on the most important issues and they were concerned that might happen again."


Gee, do ya think?


That ominous possibility was revealed by a guy who really ought to know. In a New York Times interview, CBS producer Don Hewitt, who directed and produced the John Kennedy-Richard Nixon debate in 1960, explained that debates entail "a big dose of show biz" and "trying to keep an audience."


"When you're in television," Hewitt said, "that's your job."


Indeed, a lot of Democrats are angry at ABC for doing what they do best, which is to put on a TV show. That's like inviting yourself into a bear's cave and being surprised that you are mauled.


Republicans were just as unhappy when their candidates were asked in an MSNBC/Politico.com debate, "Is there anybody on the stage that does NOT believe in evolution?" The half-dozen candidates stood stunned for a moment before three of them raised their hands. Gotcha! In entertainment terms, the moment made great TV. But it was not really fair to the candidates or their audience.


The ABC debate exposed an uncomfortable truth: TV and other new-age electronic media don't just cover election campaigns. They have increasingly become the campaign.


Contrary to popular belief, presidential debates are not written into the Constitution. They did not even begin with Abraham Lincoln. He was a former congressman running for Sen. Stephen Douglas' seat when the two toured Illinois in a famous series of debates in 1858.


No, the first presidential debate was also the first televised debate, the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon face-off in the studios at WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned station in Chicago. "That night," Russell Baker of The New York Times, later wrote, "image replaced the printed word as the natural language of politics." The image has only become more important since then — and more easily distorted.


Of course, candidates have responded by feeding an industry of spin doctors that has grown since the early 1960s from the dozens into the thousands. If debate formats do more to diminish their client-candidates than to get their campaigns' messages out, don't be surprised if more candidates stop showing up. And, if voters feel more insulted by the debate questioners than the candidates, they won't object.


If so, presidential debates could face an ironic end. They could be wiped out by the medium that created them.

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Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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