In the wake of the second presidential debate, there was significant consternation over the role of moderator, Candy Crowley. When Republican candidate Mitt Romney pointed to a comment by President Barrack Obama and said he wanted it noted for the record, Crowley confirmed the record based on a speech Obama had made in the White House Rose Garden regarding the Libyan terror attack on a U.S. consulate. Unfortunately for Romney, the transcript favored the president.
Facts can be both embarrassing and liberating. The truth shall set you free. Validation of truth is what these debates have lacked. Instead, networks like CNN have offered real-time trend lines in green and yellow across the screen depicting word-by-word reactions of focus groups viewing the debate. So, as a viewer, I know what independent voters think of a candidate’s comments, but I don’t know if the remarks are actually accurate or convenient fabrication.
We have the technology to superimpose validation on the screen moments after a candidate makes a statement. We can also designate when he or she is in error. When a two-minute time allotment runs out, we have the technology to mute the speaker’s microphone. When a candidate interrupts, we have the ability to cut off his microphone and even mask his image from viewers. When a politician stretches the truth or snaps it in half, production crews can superimpose a Pinocchio nose on the screen. Three Pinocchio’s and you’re out!
The irony is, we have multiple angles and instant replays on a sports play to determine whether the player scored. Was the ball in or out? Was the shot down before time expired? But when life and death decisions like foreign affairs depend on the results of an election, we have to wait days or sometimes years to learn the truth.
But with the billions pouring into elections, don’t expect to see any real journalism in the near future. Tight elections make the media a lot of money. And that’s the truth.