No, but that’s what traditional TV demands – entertainment, movement, holding an ADD audience’s interest for more than 15 minutes so the advertisers get their money's worth.
Enter, C-SPAN, that “boring” little network that for nearly 40 years has held tight to providing straight information and letting the American people willing to endure it, make up their own minds without glib -sometimes inanae - talking heads in the way. Now, C-SPAN will join with regional newspapers to make available everyone seeking the GOP nomination on the same stage at the same time. Will it be entertaining? Probably not in conventional TV terms. Will it be informative? Absolutely. Rather than just reading headlines or edited sound bites, the audience will see unfettered candidates.
What it also will be is fair. The way Fox News, which was to host the first of the 2016 primary debates next month but will be beaten to the punch by C-Span, was approaching that debate, they were only going to allow 10 of the candidates to be included – those with the top averages among a selected set of national polls. I don’t remember the numbers from two election cycles ago, but if that were the case then, and we’d had this many candidates on the Democratic side, we likely would not have seen Barrack Obama included in the cast for the first debate. And we know how that election turned out when people were exposed to him.
Do I think Carly Fiornia or Lindsay Graham will win the GOP nomination? I do not. But I’ve been wrong before and who knows, maybe Ms Fiorina or Sen. Graham catch fire and pull it off. They should not be knocked out because a cable news channel set arbitrary criteria for inclusion thus influencing who becomes competitive in the race.
What Fox and others should be doing is putting all the supposedly creative minds they employ together to come up with a format that is fair and provides the American public with a forum that offers each candidate time to make an impression, good or bad, on the public. If people can watch The Donald and think he makes sense, then he deserves a seat at the table – not just because his name ID and curiosity level are so high that people think he’d be fun to watch. We’re electing a president, not a TV reality show host.
So, thank you C-SPAN for stepping up to the plate again and doing the right thing. C-SPAN decided long ago it wasn’t going after ratings or advertisers, so it has freedom to do this type of thing where a commercial network, under pressure to be entertaining and make money, can’t put the public good ahead of its self interest.
And thank you Brian Lamb, founder of C-SPAN for having the foresight to see what our TV world would become and know there is a niche for doing the right thing. I'm only sorry doing the right thing has become a niche.