The “Presidential Debates” Are Not Debates

he presidential debates on our national TV networks fail as debates. Rather than structured debates conducted among the candidates, they are press conferences controlled by who the reporters call on when, and by their questions. The candidates, in their answers or later refutations, are strictly limited, often by aggressive interruption, to one minute or 30 seconds each, respectively. Instead of the candidates presenting what they believe and will try to do if elected, reporters tell the candidates what they should talk about in their permitted short replies. So far this summer, the overall outcomes of these disorganized events are usually chaotic and confused, with candidates often interrupting reporters’ control in place of getting called on.
Candidates from the Democratic debates. (photo: TheWrap/Getty Images)

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