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Slate readers get thinking about debates

September 28, 2007

I was looking around on Slate.com earlier. Apparently a few months ago the online publication asked its readers for their opinions on how to improve the current presidential debates. There are some suggestions from the Slate readers that are definatly worth looking at, and a few that are a bit “out there.” Here’s a rundown of some of the more noteable points:

Fact Checking During the Debates: “In a first round, journalists would question the candidates. Those answers would then be fact-checked by a panel. During the fact-checking, candidates would be allowed to say whatever they wanted in a second round. (This free gab period would be a sweetener that might entice them to participate.) In the third round, the fact-checking panel would make candidates defend their distortions, ask for clarifications, or point out which questions the candidates had ducked altogether.”
Give the audience control: We saw this type thing with the CNN/Youtube debates, but several Slate readers suggested a different take on it inspired by shows like American Idol and Survivor. The audience would have the power to vote candidates off the stage who’s answers were no good. And if a candidate began to ramble, his microphone could be cut off.
Let the candidates question each other: Candidates sparring against one another on various topics may be more entertaining and yield better debate than the standard panel of journalists and academics asking questions.

To read some of the other ideas from the Slate.com readership, here’s the link the article: http://slate.com/id/2166144/

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Alf permalink
    September 28, 2007 3:20 pm

    The more I consider the possibilities of having candidates question each other, the less comfortable I am with it. While at first glance it sounds like it would open up the debates to some real back-and-forth discussion, I fear it would actually end up detracting from the debates. If the candidates could questions each other, they would most likely end up asking loaded, trick questions and spinning everything their opponents said. This would waste valuable time that could be spent providing the people with informed, honest answers. So, obviously the system needs reform, but maybe that’s not the best way.

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