EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Columns

October 21, 2012

Column: Crowley, others, abandon impartiality to participate in debate

It would be a mistake to say Candy Crowley of CNN moderated the most recent presidential debate because, at one point in particular, she mistook herself as a participant, interrupting Mitt Romney to tell him he was wrong when he wasn’t. President Barack Obama — interrupted by her far less and given three more minutes to speak overall — beamed.

He should have. It was great to have an onstage assistant just as it has been a boon worth multi-millions in advertising to have huge portions of the press cheering him on in his re-election campaign. The liberal bias of much of the media was a major factor putting Obama in the White House in the first place, one social scientist has said, and while that may make some people happy, the continued crumbling of standards poses a threat to both journalism and democracy.

Journalism is in a stage of great transition, with newspapers especially in steep decline: Just 23 percent of Americans said in a recent Pew survey that they read a print version of a newspaper yesterday. The Internet is shoving itself to the front of the line to such an extent that Newsweek magazine just announced it is turning to an all-digital format in 2013. Broadcast TV faces problems, as does CNN, Crowley’s home: It just got its lowest ratings since 1991. On top of all of this comes a Gallup poll telling us that 60 percent of Americans distrust news reporting to be fair, accurate and complete.

We could be at a tipping point, and we could end up more and more of a partisan press leaving Americans with few places to turn for balanced news presentation. That brings us back to Crowley.

She shallowly blamed George W. Bush for much of our economic problems on top of diminishing the debate with varied unjustified interventions. Her worst intrusion came when Romney was saying Obama had not proclaimed in a Rose Garden talk that the Sept. 11 killings at our Libyan embassy were an act of terrorism.

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