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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 Oct. 2, 2008 / 3 Tishrei 5769

Winners and loser, or: Why not have a real debate?

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Who won and who lost the first presidential debate? Both camps, predictably enough, were ready to proclaim victory even before the debate was over, or maybe even before it had begun. Winning and losing in presidential debates tends to lie in the eye of the partisan beholder.


The medium and not the message may be what counts in these matters. On television, appearance is all. On radio, voice. The classic example is the first, historic Nixon-Kennedy encounter in 1960, when those who watched it on television thought a witty, photogenic, panther-graceful and, yes, sexy John F. Kennedy bested his jowly, jaw-shadowed opponent. Richard M. Nixon was already beginning to resemble cartoonist Herblock's unflattering image of him: a mix of sewer-dwelling thug and lesser used-car salesman. And in these cases, seeing is believing — maybe even believing too much.


But on radio it was a different story, and a different debate. Mr. Nixon's deep, authoritative, bass tones made Senator Kennedy sound like a shaky young tenor with an uncorrectable Boston accent given to talking about the threat from Cuber. In contrast, Vice President Nixon's voice projected strength and experience, especially when it came to matters of foreign policy and defense, while Jack Kennedy's had a superficial ring, reflecting mainly wealth and style. Some of us weren't much surprised when the Missile Gap he made a central issue of his campaign turned out to be largely fictitious; his voice was never convincing when he spoke about it.


In short, what the candidates say may matter less than how they say it. And the rule may still hold for McCain-Obama in 2008. John McCain may have been more authentic, but Barack Obama was definitely smoother. Who won, who lost? You cast your vote and you takes your choice.


But there could be little doubt about who lost Friday night's debate: the referee. Jim Lehrer of PBS proved the model of an immoderate moderator as he moved around the ring trying to get both contenders to slug it out. He brought to mind a playground bully trying to get two kids to mix it up. At one point he took refuge in complete inanity, as when he told the debaters to cover the subject of Russia in two minutes. Well, why not? That country is only 11 time zones wide and maybe a dozen centuries old. Two minutes should be more than enough, maybe with 15 seconds to spare for Europe or Asia.


And so things went, usually nowhere. For the debate centered about foreign policy at just the moment when domestic policy, especially the financial meltdown, could have used some attention. Lots of attention. And the chief distraction was being provided by the interlocutor who was supposed to keep the candidates on track.


Not for the first time, one wonders: Why have a moderator when all that's really needed is a timekeeper? Why invite somebody from that incessant third party of American politics, the omnipresent media, to take part in what's supposed to be a two-party system? Who nominated Jim Lehrer for president? Don't the candidates themselves posture enough? Do we really need another source of pomp and self-promotion in an already rhetoric-drenched presidential campaign? Isn't the job of the media to cover the news, not make it? Yet when the media is represented at a presidential debate (which really isn't a debate at all but a kind of joint, fractious press conference), the focus on the candidates themselves can be lost, or at least compromised.


There is a whole science, art and rulebook of debate. Just ask any high school debating coach. Why not make a presidential debate a real debate instead of the high-stakes quiz show it's become? The rules were good enough for Messrs. Lincoln and Douglas, so why not for our time? Cutting out the media would by no means assure that we'd get debaters on the level of Mr. Lincoln and Judge Douglas, but at least we might be spared the Jim Lehrers.

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