Jim Lehrer seems big on getting the candidates to, you know, talk amongst themselves. In this, he is ostensibly subscribing to the First Law of Second-Person Dynamics: the assumption that addressing someone directly will cause the address-er to be more diplomatic and, er, politic in his or her address. A noble strategy, but will it work? Doubtful.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.