Nonsense Ellen DeGeneres Question Derails an Otherwise Substantive Democratic Debate (Column)

Variety | 10/15/2019 | Caroline Framke
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The fourth Democratic debate was dangerously close to being substantive. For almost three (3!) hours, the twelve (12!) candidates onstage tackled questions on foreign policy, reproductive rights, health care, gun control, big tech, and the opioid crisis. While the other debates — and indeed, the entire 2016 presidential campaign — have been marked by meme-able moments and gaffes, the one co-hosted tonight by CNN and “The New York Times” largely featured candidates who know where they stand and what they wanted to say in order to distinguish themselves from the crowd. For every confusing diversion or stumble, there were far more answers with some actual meat to them. It was, to be frank, a surprising deviation from the norm, which has so often seen moderators and candidates alike fighting to create the splashiest moments possible.

And then, with 15 minutes to go, co-moderator Anderson Cooper turned to the final, most ridiculous question of the evening: “Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized when she and George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship by saying, ‘we’re all different…and we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.’ In that spirit, we’d like you to tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us, and what impact it’s had on you and your beliefs.”

Question - Question - Ways - Question - Night

This question, insomuch as it’s even a question, was disappointing in several ways at once. For one, this was the final question on a night in which the increasingly urgent issue of climate change only came up when candidates sporadically brought it up (and without Washington governor Jay Inslee there to ring the bell of impending global doom, these mentions were still fleeting at best). Sure, it was a long night, but it was a disappointing choice to end on...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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