When politics becomes as much about the media outlets that cover the process as it does the candidates they showcase, you know we have a problem. Four Republican presidential debates hosted by four different cable networks, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network, seemed to have blurred together with the candidates jousting for position and lead. That has never been the intent of the process and the public is not the winner.
Last night's debate bordered on dull as viewers sorted through the now repeated candidate rhetoric to try and glean real substance. There was some substance but not enough, and at this point in the game that isn't enough. Before the debate there was as much hype about how the Fox moderators would handle the debate as there was about how the candidates would perform. And perform seems to be an appropriate word. As the Twitterverse lit up with its own comments, I found it pretty much on target that its analytics showed my most read Tweet was "Trump got in a 60 Minutes promo while on Fox debate". It was simply an observational note of a seemingly unnoticed deft move among the more serious. His reference to a CBS program stood out more than the supposed relationship with Putin that he was trying to explain - once again.
Our presidential campaigns are the most serious elections we hold in this country, yet that seems to be getting lost in the mix. The media's job is to inform and educate. If the cable networks take on the enormous responsibility of hosting presidential debates, let's cut the promo machines and get down to the serious business of trying to elect a President. Let's get the political party machines to back off and let the candidates get down to their business which has been off-ramped in all of everybody trying to get a word in somewhere.