“News” or SNL Script?

RE: “Democrats Clash on Trade, Health and Rival Tactics” (New York Times 2/27/2008).

The New York Times’ “top story” that ran the morning after last Tuesday’s debate reads like an Op-Ed at best and a script for a Saturday Night Live parody of media coverage at worst. Whereas Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny portray Clinton as “pugnacious” and “relentless,” they write that Obama “appeared to listen intently to her attacks before responding in even tones.” They say she “stared steadily” with “pursed lips and a furrowed brow” while “issuing withering looks — as he answered questions. She spoke forcefully at every turn” and “did not smile at him” while he “rested his chin on his hands and smiled as Mrs. Clinton criticized him.” According to Healy and Zeleny, she interrupted and “insisted,”  “even vented her long-simmering frustrations,” while “Obama responded energetically.”

I witnessed both candidates listening to each other with serious, unsmiling expressions much of the debate. Both interrupted each other and the moderators. However, Clinton’s “newly aggressive tone” didn’t contribute to a “belligerent” debate–but a more balanced one, at last.

(Letter to the editor, which the New York Times did not choose for publication)

One thought

  1. I agree with Ms. Sandage’s point that both candidates were rather mild and equal in energy. It was a good debate, don’t get me wrong! In fact, it did decide MY VOTE!

    However, all the reviews I read of the debate did not describe the debate which I watched TWICE. First, when it ran live and then I watched a full rerun.

    Without that debate, I would still be on the fence, so for me it was important and I did find that written reports would NOT have helped me with an accurate opinion or being able to decide my vote. I’m just very glad that I was able to watch the debate live and decide for myself. I can no longer rely on good media coverage to be unbiased.

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