UPDATE II: I’ve put quotation marks around “plants.” I’m not sure the campaigns had anything to do with these folks asking questions, which “plants” implies. I still think, at the least, CNN did a sloppy job of previewing and vetting the questions submitted. I use “plants” here, then, as a shorthand for people CNN didn’t identify as being connected to other campaigns. CNN asked for questions, I don’t blame these people for submitting them.
Then there are the questions themselves. As noted on the CNN I-Reporter section, no question about health care, stem cell research, the economy other than taxes, the environment and global warming, the sub-prime crisis, I’m sure my readers could think of dozens more. Instead, we got a guy asking about the Confederate flag, three, yes three, questions on guns, space research, if Ron Paul was going to bolt after he loses, and whether the candidates believe the Bible. Please! No doubt these are important questions to the questioners, but with a limited number of questions why were these chosen, if not to show Republicans as unhinged.
UPDATE: Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind has more with several links and more “plants,”
It gets better (worse if you’re CNN). A woman who asked an abortion question is a John Edwards supporter. And the man who asked about support from the Log Cabin Republicans is an Obama backer.
In the various links at Sean’s place, especially Michelle Malkin, we see that these folks identify themselves as supporters in their profiles.
Steveegg at No Runny Eggs has more also and a couple of more “plants.”
That these people asked questions or even wanted to ask questions bothers me not a bit. They were fair questions. That CNN failed to let the public know who they were bothers me. That they had William Bennett on with 5 left of center folks plus Cooper bothers me. That they followed that up with a special emphasizing right of center attack ads and characterizing them as lies when they have not been proven that they are lies yet (since Kerry refuses to let his military record become public) bothers me. That CNN is now trying to scrub the debate video bothers me.
And Democrats avoided Fox because they thought they wouldn’t get a fair shake? If I were a Republican candidate, I would not go to another CNN sponsored debate.
CNN, as part of its Republican debate with YouTube, failed to mention that retired general Keith Kerr, who announced he was gay after his retirement from the Army, is a member of Hillary Clinton’s “LGBT Americans For Hillary Steering Committee.” Not only did General Kerr ask the question via a YouTube video, but he was also present in the audience, and got to ask the candidates for a “straight answer” (pardon the pun).
CNN at the end of the “talking heads” segment, acknowledged this and said if they had know they would have certainly noted it. No mention was made of why it took them so long to verify it.
I guess Hillary sets up other candidates with questions, too.