In retrospect it took me around 30 minutes to recognize what was happening with the line of questions and the unfortunate turn to sabotage reporting from moderators George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson. That's 30 minutes before it became exceedingly clear this was an ambush rather than a debate on issues impacting the campaign. Not only were the recent issues regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the "mangled" "bitter" statements stirred up but new accusations and subversive politics were at play.
Stephanopoulos and Gibson took the low road with the line of questions that segued into a viewer question that perpetuated the almost urban legend that Senator Obama doesn't recognize the flag. The moderators and producers of the debate could have taken a higher road than perpetuating myths and supporting the propoganda of ignorance.
During the course of exchanges between Stephanopoulos and Senator Clinton, all I could think about was the legendary "no look pass" in basketball. George would cue up the question and the imminently prepared Senator from New York was throwin' them down. Stephanopoulos was a strong leader within the Clinton administration and worked closely with Senator Clinton and it showed. Uniquely, I was an intern at the White House during the same time and remember seeing the Michael J. Foxesque Stephanopoulos going between the West Wing and the O.E.O.B. amazed at his access to such a global figure.
The brazen bias in the pointed questions and "gotcha" nature of the beginning of the debate reminded me that we still have a ways to go. I became concerned that these were the types of tactics and ploys that foster fear and contention to win short term gains.
I am disappointed to see the biased nature of the moderators Stephanopoulos and Gibson yesterday evening. Watching the epic campaign that has been unfolding seems historic and has engaged a generation of disenfranchised young voters. I would hope that the media recognizes their role to report with fair objectivity and supports to enrich the experience for viewers.
I've gone to great lengths to avoid the persecution of "racial bias" or victimization saying that Senator Obama was treated that way "because he's black". Race excluded, this is still an issue of subjective questioning for conflict's sake and a desire for something more noble from the media.