“The Most Startlingly Tabloid Debate” Yet

Per Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, moments after the ABC-sponsored Democratic debate concluded just now.

Maybe Olbermann’s just peeved that ABC is restricting his use of clips?

Actually, Olbermann’s characterization sounds about right to me. It was pretty much all gotcha or gaffe from debate moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos for the first hour.

Put another way: “[B]asically debate by gotcha line with basically no discussion of any of the big questions the election is turning on,” writes Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall.

And there’s even this from Jonah Goldberg over at National Review’s The Corner blog:

I’m no leftwing blogger, but I can only imagine how furious they must be with the debate so far. Nothing on any issues. Just a lot of box-checking on how the candidates will respond to various Republican talking points come the fall. Now I think a lot of those Republican talking points are valid and legitimate. But if I were a “fighting Dem” who thinks all of these topics are despicable distractions from the “real issues,” I would find this debate to be nothing but Republican water-carrying.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.