Paul Reiser didn't see a lot of "town" in Tuesday night's town hall debate, just "a couple dozen of over-lit, underwhelmed people who got free tickets."
And Greg Mitchell notes, "We've come to lower our expectations for real debates in the "debate" process, but this one was terrible." The selected questions were weak, he said, and the follow-up's non-existent. Mitchell suggests even bloggers could do a better quizzing the candidates.
Agreed. Given the media and technology revolution we've seen in recent years, which has forever altered the way candidates can communicate to voters, this staid, MSM-driven format feels very 1984/1988.
But not a peep from the Beltway talking heads, who refuse to criticize the TV productions.
UPDATE: At the debate's conclusion, CNN's Anderson Cooper announced, "A debate unlike any we've seen before."
Really? It seemed to be exactly like previous debates we'd seen. But Cooper's job was to prop up the forum as something extra special.
UPDATE: Micah Sifry at Tech President writes:
If a candidate can post a 37 minute speech online or a 13 minute documentary (and get millions of views, as Obama has done), then surely we can remake the debates in the age of the Internet to deliver rich, detailed and interactive content to the America people, to help us make up our minds and improve the quality of the national discussion.