Vail Daily letter: Debate improvements
October 7, 2016
I just attended a series of talks by local candidates at the Eagle County Building. One thing it was not was offensive. There was no interrupting. No personal disparaging of one's opponents. No misrepresentations of what they stood for. Which compares well with the presidential and vice presidential debates on TV so far.
I suggest that the presidential debate format be changed so that if it is not your turn to speak, your microphone is turned off. And the camera doesn't show your grimacing, head shaking and other non-verbal demonstrations.
And if you do try to interrupt, even though your mike is turned off, the time you spend talking will be subtracted from your time to speak later.
The idea is that everyone gets to have their say without interruption or other interference.
I think each candidate should be able to display one or more Internet addresses so people interested in more details about their positions can review them, and to see that candidate's fact-checking on what their opponent said.
The role of the moderators needs changing. Lester Holt of NBC was a good example of bias in the first Clinton-Trump debate. CNN's Candace Crowley did the same thing in one of the Romney-Obama debates in 2012.
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Rather than have moderators direct questions, why not just say that for the next 10 minutes, a candidate will be asked to give their position on a certain topic, like terrorism, crime, gun control, the economy, the environment, etc. And then each will be given five minutes to comment on what their opponent said.
When your time is up, your mike is turned off, and the camera will no longer show you. No being given time to complete your thought, etc. So use your time wisely. Show self-discipline.
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