Letter to the Editor

Stop the political theater

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Political debates have traditionally featured two candidates in front of a diverse audience conducted by a neutral moderator. The Hollywood style productions of today have more in common with a WWE or roller derby event than they do dignified political debate. Aggressive cable tabloid news personalities have used the debates for auditioning themselves, and scoring points for the advancement of pet crusades rather than providing actual value to the process of vetting presidential candidates. Political candidates want to hand pick moderators and control the content of questions, something that would be equally poisonous to the debates.

The purpose of political debates is to provide a vehicle for candidates to present their opinions and proposals for action on critical issues facing the American people. Debates should be conducted by a neutral moderator posing the same questions to each candidate based on issues identified in polls as being of most concern to voters. The moderator should not be combative with the candidates, nor show any bias.

A debate is not "Dancing with the Stars" or "America's Got Talent." The future of 320 million Americans, and indeed the world, are at stake. Cable networks in particular have been guilty of corrupting the integrity of these debates, and should be excluded from sponsoring them. Debates should be sponsored by independent groups or scholastic entities, and made available for broadcast by any network as a news event, not as some bizarre entertainment production aimed at ratings, or political theater.

Will Richardson, Jackson