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When did we become a nation of five-year-olds?

"The media was mean to my candidate first!" "No, it was mean to my candidate first, and you didn't say anything!" "Your candidate's a wuss!" "But you're candidate's a bitch!"

Do you see how stupid this sounds?

I've been a journalist for sixteen years and am currently working on my masters (and teaching) at Temple University. Now I'm sorry to have to say this to those of you who believe that it was cool for Messrs. Gibson and Stephanopoulos to smack Barack Obama around Wednesday night, but it was wrong, and most importantly, it wasn't good journalism.

It was also wrong when it happened to Hillary Clinton in a previous debate, although I suspect that the reason why no one said anything was because we were all afraid she'd kick our asses for sticking up for her. I mean, the entire time she's been in Pennsylvania she's been acting like Charles Bronson in a Tahari pantsuit, for God's sake. (That comes from one of my reporter friends. Don't shoot the messenger.)

The biggest problem I've had with this entire campaign is the willingness on the part of the mainstream media to play king (or queen) maker. It started with them telling us that Senator Clinton was the "inevitable" Democratic nominee and has continued with Senator Obama's being anointed the "frontrunner."

It's not the media's job to do this. But the American public hasn't demanded that it stop, thus it continues.

There is no plausible excuse for the shoddy performances by Messrs. Gibson and Stephanopoulos on Wednesday night. That was two hours of my life that I'll never get back. (I was blogging live from the National Constitution Center. Anyone who wants to see it can do so at themadpoliticalscientist.blogspot.com.)

But then again, there was no plausible excuse for the performances of like Wolf Blitzer, Brian Williams, Tim Russert and even my beloved Keith Olbermann in previous debates.

The group that I feel worst for is my Writing for the News class. I gave them the assignment of watching this debate and coming up with "spin room" questions. I can only imagine the godawful questions I'm going to be hit with.