The PBS Debate: ‘Genteel, Civilized, Lacking Drama’

By Mark Joyella 

Thursday night’s PBS Democratic presidential debate made history as the first presidential primary debate to feature more women on stage than men–Hillary Clinton and moderators Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff outnumbering the only man, Bernie Sanders.

In tone and style, observers noted the “very PBS” feel of things. “This truly was a PBS debate,” writes David A. Fahrenthold at The Washington Post. “Genteel, civilized, lacking drama–and full of material that’s already aired somewhere else.”

The moderators got several nods for their handling of pace–and their questions. The Birmingham News’ Leada Gore said it was “one of most substantive of all the showdowns among both parties. It was a refreshing change to see moderators not make themselves the story. Well done.”