Fox News/Google Debate: The Review Roundup

By Alex Weprin Comment

Last night Fox News hosted its latest Republican debate, this time with Google as a co-sponsor. What did the media reporters and observers think of the format and questions?

The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple was not a fan of the user-generated questions:

The YouTube crowdsourcing, however, didn’t go quite as well. Fox News/Google used an Internet voting scheme to determine what questions from the public ended up in front of the candidates. The scheme is democratic, webby, inclusive, clever — and, in most cases, in­cred­ibly boring…

Give me Brian Williams, give me John Harris, give me Wolf Blitzer. They’re all better than YouTube.

The Washington Times‘s Eric Golub felt much the same way:

Can news stations just do their jobs and ask better questions and stop relying on “hip, cool” technology that brings stupid questions?

Just because we are in the digital social media age does not mean the political acumen of Americans has increased. If anything, low barriers to entry have led to desperate pseudo-celebrity seekers crashing the debates.

Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly are all serious journalists. Yet the combination of too many candidates and too few solid questions from audience participators led to too much being left out.

Politico’s Ben Smith argued that Fox “Hannitized” the debate, by asking softer questions of the candidates:

After hosting two debates in which moderators asked surprisingly sharp questions, the Fox News Channel seemed to retreat to a more comfortable forum Thursday night, offering gentle questions and few follow-ups amid a beeping, flashing, debate co-hosted with the giant chart company Google, which also has a search engine.