Warren Better Than Network Anchors?

Posted by Katherine | August 21, 2008 – 9:41 am
Rick Warren
Rick Warren [kev/null / Flickr]

You remember the Gibson/Stephanopoulos-moderated Democratic debate, right? That may have been on Mike from LeftFielder.org’s mind when he decided Pastor Rick Warren was better at interviewing candidates than most network anchors. Actually, he just plain feels Warren did a great job:

In my mind […] the real winner of the night was Rick Warren. […]

Warren deserves all the credit in the world for […] avoiding the big mistakes of most of the network debate moderators and interviewers. In particular, not once in the two hours did Warren ask the candidates to respond to an attack that the other had made during the previous day. He never asked them a question designed to make them squirm or designed to trip them up. He never asked them about the big scandals of the moment or to comment on a verbal gaffe made by someone involved in one of the two campaigns. The entire interview process was friendly, professional, and fair.

Now Warren wasn’t perfect. A couple times he phrased questions in subtly different ways that may have effected the kinds of answers he got. Also, because of the setting (a moderately conservative church) there were obvious “right” or “popular” answers to several of the questions. It was also an audience that was guaranteed to lean more towards the Republican on stage (although to be fair, the audience was exceptionally polite and respectful to both candidates).

But in general, that was a better forum for getting to know the candidates, and for comparing their responses to real and important questions, than the vast majority of the dozens of debates we had during the primary season. And for that, Rick Warren and Saddleback Church deserve an awful lot of credit.

On a related note, The Huffington Post points out that ABC News (home of Gibson and Stephanopoulos) has so far not been asked to join its colleagues PBS, NBC, and CBS in hosting one of the upcoming presidential debates.

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