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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

The debate debate

By Jim Mullen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Eighty-seven million Americans watched the first debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. You'd have thought Honey Boo Boo was going to appear on "Dancing With the Stars." We'd have learned more, however, if the two candidates had appeared on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

The first thing the moderator does in a modern debate is tell the TV audience that the live audience has been instructed not to clap or cheer for one candidate or the other. So the obvious question is -- why is there a live audience? The real audience is that gigantic TV audience, not the tiny group of people sitting on their hands in the auditorium.

Why don't they stage the debates in an empty studio of some recently canceled celebrity TV talk show? You wouldn't have to worry about someone in the audience breaking the rules in favor of one candidate, which is bound to happen sooner or later.

There was no studio audience for the Kennedy/Nixon debates, and they went smoothly, so where did this fake "tradition" of live audiences begin? In some TV executive's tiny, tiny brain, no doubt. Or maybe it came from a Certified Presidential Debate Consultant -- if there is such a thing. If not, you can bet some university will be offering a Ph.D. in that field any day now.

It used to be that the camera would break away from the speaker and focus on the nonspeaking debater for a reaction shot of him with a "you just used the wrong fork" look on his face. But in the Obama/Romney debate, the split screen was up almost continuously. When did they start this?

But the biggest flaw with the current debate format is not with the candidates, but with the moderators and panelists. The first debate moderator said that a portion of the debate was about the economy. Great! Bring on a couple of economists to ask some questions. Or a couple of CEOs. Or at least someone who can balance a checkbook. Journalists should report what was said at a debate, not be part of it. Lincoln and Douglas did a fine job with no reporters at all on the stage.

Another super-silly debate practice is to have the live audience or tweeters or emailers toss out questions. Debate organizers act like this is the greatest thing since Hot Pockets, while I think it is a bad idea and a waste of time. It is not because I'm a snob, or think the public isn't entitled to ask politicians questions. Instead, it comes from something I experienced years ago during the folk music craze of the early '60s.

There was a short-lived fad for a thing called hootenannies, in which the audience would sing along with the performers. So you would pay good money to see, say, Peter, Paul and Mary, and instead of hearing Peter, Paul and Mary, you would hear the audience sing along with Peter, Paul and Mary. But here's the deal: I didn't pay to hear you sing. I paid to hear Peter, Paul and Mary sing. Even if you were good (and I'm sorry, but most of you are not), that's not what I came to hear.

Everyone seemed to figure that out pretty quickly, and hootenannies died a quick, well-deserved death, never to be heard from again.

So instead of listening to the audience sing, why not have experts on foreign policy, experts on health care and experts on defense ask the questions at a presidential debate?

Whoops! I've answered my own question. It would make too much sense.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo."


Previously:


Looking for a shortcut to penury? Buy a car
The pros and cons of a chicken tattoo
Does saying 'no' make us bad grandparents?
Crying 'foul' over ballpark proposals
College loans and job-search groans
That buzzing you hear is the sound of time flying
Too much of anything can get annoying
Five billionth in line for the throne
WARNING! This article may cause drowsiness
The mail and email of the species
Jotting down the un-bucket list
Bees deliver stinging fashion critique
Have a tissue issue? Help is a phone call away
My guy's guys are better than your guy's guys
Divorce, Facebook style
Millionaires are a dime a dozen
What not to name the baby
Technology is a wonderful thing -- when it works
A bad case of the wedding bill blues
Of cupcakes, teenage moms and crazy nuptials
FOOD FIGHT!
Rolling Stoned
Caterwauling over death of books is premature
Ask your doctor if this column is right for you
Could shopping be any more inconvenient?
Thanks for the lack of memories
Help wanted: Teenage life coach with all the answers
Sorry, wrinkles are not legal proof of age
Dead mice tell no tales
GOING PAPERLESS -- PRICELESS!
Should bad behavior be rewarded?
The perplexing problems of the rich and famous
Do these glasses make my gut look big?
More expensive by the dozen
In one year and out the other
Thank heaven it's Black Friday
Planning for the long term ---- tomorrow
READING THIS WILL MAKE YOU THIN AND HAPPY!
The Seven Secrets of Success
It's tough living off the gridIt's tough living off the grid
How not to clean the houseIt's tough living off the grid The yellow badge of cowardice
Any way you slice it
Home sweet homeschooling
Don't Head for the Borders
Money ball
Golf and death go hand in hand
Tune in, turn off, unplug
The radar curtain
Is Steve Jobs clouding my privacy?
The gift of garbage
Johnny Intern, Ph.D.
Twenty-foot fences make good neighbors
You must remember this…
TV experts and real news
Hey caller, where's the fire?
My sad cushy life
Pacemaker, don't you mess around with me
Big Brother is skinny
Flight of the snowbirds
This HDTV needs child support
Dear Future: Where's the dome?
Not so elementary, my dear Watson
A vacation revolution
Your call is very unimportant to us
Life: There's no app for that
Bam! Practical kitchen magic
Poisoning myself
Ban Huck Finn in schools --- even the sanitized version!
$38,000 for traffic and weather updates
2011 Predictions: Nostradamus was a hack
2010: A year of annoying junk
Why do bad things happen to stupid people?
Moving on from movie theaters
Money never sleeps, but it does pass out
President Trump kept it classy
Stalking your college kid won't change a thing
Putting my life in ‘Jeopardy’
Mo' government, mo' problems
iLostIt
Dressed for excess
Expert tease
The mysteries of Jersey
‘You are a toilet, where am I?’
Don't we all cheat at the game of life?
What happens when I forget where Google is?
Don't let the doorman hit you on the way out
Picasso fiasco
Purple (hair) ‘Daze’
Let me hear your body talk
Working from work
Babies deserve clean restrooms, too
3-year-old bear-killers are a thing of the past
Money-making ideas on the fly
Collecting and hoarding
Chain of fools
Please come pick up your acting awards, ESPN commentators, you've earned them
You've been superpoked by the U.S. gov't
e-Readin', e-Writin' and e-Rithmatic
A pose by any other name
Warning: Column contains 2010 spoilers
‘He loves only gold, only gold’
Think about direction, wonder why …
Flushing your money down a diamond-studded toilet
More like ‘wack’ Friday
The good, the ad and the ugly
The desert of the real
Let books be large and in charge
I was insulting people way before the Internet
GPS drill sergeant: Left, right, left!
Butterfly in the sky, you make winds go twice as high
Music to my ears it's not
You don't light up my life
Fair or not: Country living is far from ‘Little House’
A parable for the ‘ages’
Top 100 Cable news stories of the century
Green dumb
A developing story
Thinking outside the lunch box
What's good for the goose is good for the scanner
Newspapers will survive, but network TV?
A really big show of generation gaps
When pigs flu
The reports of our decline have been greatly exaggerated
Mergers and admonitions
Invest in gold: little, yellow, different
Stuck in Folsom Penthouse
Collecting karma
Setting loose the creative ‘juice’
It's all in the numbers
You're damaging your brain with practical skills
The real rat pack
The unspeakable luxury of the Park-O-Matic
Gross-ery shopping



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