Last Night’s CNN Debate Didn’t Experience Any Technical Glitches, but Social Media Griped About Content

By A.J. Katz 

From a logistical standpoint, last night’s CNN-New York Times debate seemed to have gone off without a hitch. No outages, sound problems, and there wasn’t a ton of talking over one another by the candidates. That’s pretty good, considering there were a record 12 candidates on one debate stage.

But there were still groans from social media users when it came to the overall content. For instance, the final question of the three-hour prime time debate had to do with the controversy having to do with Ellen Degeneres and George W. Bush sitting together at a Dallas Cowboys game. Playing off that event, debate co-moderator Anderson Cooper asked the candidates about some “surprising” friendships.

Many candidates noted experiences working with folks from the other side of the aisle.


Democratic candidate, former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro, didn’t like the question, and made that clear to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes after the debate:

I challenge CNN and The New York Times to ask, finally ask, about homelessness and housing. I tried to insert a little bit about that in some of my answers. But we talked about Ellen [DeGeneres] at the end. I know what the point of the question was, but we keep leaving some of these huge issues that impact families off of the question agenda at these debates. And really, it’s journalistic malpractice to do that.

Hayes asked Castro if he feels the voters have a “clear sense” in regard to the candidates’ focus on healthcare, When asked if he thinks the voters have “a clear sense” in terms of why they’re focused on health care, Castro raised further criticisms by saying “I think every family is focused on whether they have good health care or how they can get it. I also think that they’re focused on the fact that a lot of people can’t pay the rent, right? And so there are these sort of issues that are never touched on that intimately affect families every single day, that we just never get.”



Others were a bit more blunt:

Another Democratic candidate, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took the criticism of the CNN-New York Times debate to another level.

Former candidate and Washington governor Jay Inslee, who made climate his key issue, criticized CNN for not bringing up the subject:

Another Twitter user wondered why voting rights didn’t seem to have been addressed:

Social media loves to criticize these events, but these particular criticisms seemed a bit more pointed than usual. Perhaps MSNBC, which co-hosts the next debate with the Washington Post, has taken notice of these concerns and will address these subjects at their debate on Nov. 20.