CNN Becomes Even More of a Laughingstock with 'Lottery' Gimmick for Dem Debates


Turns out, Don Lemon isn’t the only joke of the Democratic debates.

In an announcement that pushes the Democratic clown car primary contest ever closer to reality television, CNN will be holding a live lottery to determine when the Democrats running for president take the stage for the next round of debates at month’s end.

And the caustic criticism is already coming in.

According to CNN, the televised drawing for debate placement will start at 8 p.m. on July 18.

The move takes a page right out of the playbook of the National Basketball Association, which has been televising lottery drawings for draft picks for decades. But as The Hill’s Joe Concha pointed out, a method that works for a sports league isn’t necessarily the best method for a political event that can literally help forge the country’s future.

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And it feeds the idea that political spectacles are “becoming more about entertainment than informing voters on candidates,” Concha wrote.

“For a candidate like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), there can be real consequences from randomly choosing from the 20 Democratic candidates.

“She was picked to appear on June 26 with no real top-tier candidates alongside her. It’s hard to draw a contrast with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) if those candidates aren’t even on stage.

“Warren was left with punching down against those who have almost no chance at the nomination. The following night, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who had been struggling in the polls while sitting in fourth or fifth place overall, hammered Biden directly and got the most ink after the debates.”

Do you think CNN is disrespecting the democratic process?

It’s unlikely conservatives are shedding any tears over Warren not having anyone of her stature in the Democratic field to debate against.

And while the vision of Kamala Harris and Warren getting shrill with each other on national television is amusing enough, it’s hard to draw up much sympathy for either one being stuck at the little kids’ table when the candidates mix it up in Detroit on July 30 and 31.

But Concha does have a point in that CNN is abdicating its responsibility to put the most realistic Democratic contenders against one another.

The network owes it to American voters (even Democratic voters) to present as full a picture as possible of the men and women vying to lead the country.

On social media, there weren’t many fans of the gimmick. CNN’s political coverage has always been a joke. Now it’s a laughingstock:

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A more adult network would take on that responsibility – maybe deciding debate placement based on fundraising and polling status – instead of shucking it off to chance.

But for CNN, a lottery has two advantages:

  •     It gives it another night to milk the ratings that political events receive in the Donald Trump era (not that CNN will ever thank Trump). A network whose ratings are as bad as CNN’s needs every bit of help it can get to draw in advertisers’ money.
  •     Maybe even more important than money, it insulates the liberal network from the possibility it will be accused of racism, sexism, homophobia or any other liberal bugaboo it could encounter by exercising its own judgment about which candidates should go up against one another for the health of the American body politic.

That combination of cupidity and cowardice might be understandable – regrettable but understandable – but CNN’s decision to have opinionated “anchor” Don Lemon act as a debate moderator is simply an insult to the intelligence of American voters (even Democratic ones).

An outspoken opponent of President Donald Trump (outrages like comparing the president to Adolf Hitler aren’t unusual for him), Lemon is the rare partisan in American media who’s so extreme he makes ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, a former top adviser to the Clinton White House, look almost normal.

His presence as a “moderator” in Detroit – alongside Dana Bash and Jake Tapper – makes a mockery of the idea that the debates are going to be anything but another extended campaign advertisement against Trump’s re-election bid.

CNN is going to get its viewers on the debate nights, and possibly for the draft night too, just for the novelty.

Lemon is going to get a chance to be taken seriously by candidates who are in the absurd position of needing his approval to advance in their pursuit of being leader of the Free World.

But CNN’s debate, its organizing process and the way it’s being staffed, is making a joke of the American political system.

Come November of next year, Lemon, CNN and the rest of the liberal media have a good chance of seeing that the American people don’t appreciate being made fun of.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.