I hear the argument that Republicans need to increase their reach online so that we can get our message out to more people. I agree with that. There is an undeniable benefit to the organization of the lefty netroots community that has been translating into real votes for their Democratic candidates. We saw some of this in the 2006 election. However, these CNN/YouTube debates are not the best way for Republican candidates to achieve this goal. Those of us who are plugged in to conservative blogs and other alternative media recognize CNN’s bias for what it is. The average American may not get how slanted CNN has made these debates. It is damaging CNN’s credibility even further when they do not take the time to check if those asking questions have an agenda to push, or whether they are even undecided voters. There’s nothing wrong with Democrats asking questions of the Republicans. The format allowed for people from both parties to ask them questions. CNN should have allowed more questions from Republicans than Democrats, since we are the ones who will pick our nominee. That’s not what happened here.
CNN never hesitated to name the affliation of Grover Norquist (who is hardly an impartial observer in this debate) to his Americans for Tax Reform. With just a little homework on their part, they could have found out about the Democrats asking questions without any disclosure of their affliations with Hillary, Obama, and someone belonging to a union supporting John Edwards. This is a joke. A bad joke. If the Republicans decide to boycott CNN from now on, I would support that completely.
As for the debate itself, I don’t know who won. The fireworks between Romney and Giuliani was quite entertaining. But I’ve stopped keeping score. There were no winners in the audience, because CNN totally abdicated its responsibility to run an honest debate for the Republicans.