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{Empty title} | The Nation

The events featuring presidential candidates and news pundits are not debates. They are Q&A sessions with the pundits selecting the questions or topics. They underestimate the intelligence of the American people and are off the mark in terms of what Americans want to know about and hear. I was appalled by the topics raised by Gibson and Stephanopoulos during the Wednesday debate on NBC. The media is actively participating in spreading rumors. For example, I had never heard of Mr.Ayres until Stephanopolis asked about him. Stephanopolis has succeeded in planting doubt in the minds of many unaware TV viewers about Obama's association with a radical ex-Weatherman.

Disgusting!

What's to be done? Get the pundits out of the business of moderating these so-called debates. They're only out to make headlines for themselves. Enough of Tim Russert's "gotcha games" and puerile questions of Stephanopoulos and Matthews. The media may label discussions led by the League of Women Voters or NPR OR PBS "boring," but for Americans seeking information, they are much more valuable.

I want to hear more about candidate's plans to reduce the impact of recession and restore our economy, position on government regulation of financial institutions, imports, exports, transportation, environment etc.; plans to improve schools and provide academic support and financial aid for needy students; how to fix Social Security, the prescription drug program for seniors etc. I would like to see candidates have adequate time to fully outline their positions on issues. The role of the moderator would be to help clarify the issue for the viewers. These discussions are not games to be played, entertainment, or contests, but genuine opportunities for the public to become informed about candidate's plans and viewpoints.

Let's stop pretending that what we are viewing are debates and give the viewers an opportunity through intelligent discussion to obtain the information they need to make one of the more critical decisions of our lifetimes about who is to become our next President.

Thanks for the opportunity to sound off!