CNN producer last week: We want GOP debate to be … “a debate of their party”; Update: CNN defends vetting procedures

posted at 5:52 pm on November 29, 2007 by Allahpundit

Which would explain the, what, six different Democrats identified as questioners thus far?

Via commenter Buy Danish:

With only a week to go before the Republican CNN/YouTube debate next Wednesday, voters are lighting up the video site with serious and not-so-serious questions for the eight candidates…

Most questions online have been pulled from public viewing for review, but many of the remaining posts involve asking the candidates to defend their opposition to gay marriage and abortion. Those kinds of “lobbying grenades” would be disqualified by the CNN selection team, Mr. Bohrman said.

“There are quite a few things you might describe as Democratic ‘gotchas,’ and we are weeding those out,” Mr. Bohrman said. CNN wants to ensure that next Wednesday’s Republican event is “a debate of their party.”

Mr. Cooper and two of his researchers are involved in the selection process, Mr. Bohrman noted.

What exactly was the “weeding” process here, Dave? Cueing up the clips for John Roberts and asking him if they “felt good”?

The link, incidentally, comes from Media Matters, which complained preemptively a few days ago about a looming double standard. Bohrman was promising the GOP no gotchas from the other side but MeMa suspects a few Republicans may have snuck into the question pool for the Democratic debate in July. Follow the link and see the examples they cite; I mentioned the guy who posed the famous gun question to Joe Biden in an earlier post as someone who sounded conservative. But if that were true, Media Matters would have dug up the proof long ago, wouldn’t they?

Exit question: If questions about whether women who abort should be locked up or whether Jesus would be pro-death penalty don’t count as “lobbying grenades,” what does?

Update: CNN’s political director admits they shouldn’t have used Kerr’s question given his campaign affiliation with Hillary, then turns around and undercuts the logic of that position:

The network looked into the backgrounds of people who submitted “very sensitive questions,” Feist said, but didn’t ask their party affiliation or whether they were associated with a campaign…

Feist asserted that conservative bloggers like Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, who has led the way in probing the backgrounds of questioners at the GOP debate, “are trying to distract from the issues.

“It’s interesting to see our critics really focusing on the questioners, but not really focusing on the questions. You haven’t heard them say that these were not useful questions.”


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How ’bout at the next Dembate they let a bunch of Republicans ask about Islamofascism, Defense, Border Security, 2md Amendment, etc?

Frozen Tex on November 29, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Sorry, 2Nd Amendment.

Frozen Tex on November 29, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Frozen Tex on November 29, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Why would they do that? I mean, that would potentially result in an uncomfortable situations for Democrats.

amerpundit on November 29, 2007 at 6:04 PM

Weirdest thing about his whold debacle?

They flew the Gay Col. in to ask the question, then gave him airtime to rebut… (hmmm… wonder if the used Alaskan Air… at least they would have gotten a discount that way…).

No way they paid to fly this guy in without doing a bit of a background check.

This was a Gotcha question orchestrated by CNN…

Romeo13 on November 29, 2007 at 6:06 PM

Allah, I seem to remember you being all for this debacle when so many predicted exactly what happened would happen. Can we quit whining now and move on to some more important Christopher Hitchens Goes Metrosexual stories.

peacenprosperity on November 29, 2007 at 6:07 PM

How ’bout at the next Dembate they let a bunch of Republicans ask about Islamofascism, Defense, Border Security, 2md Amendment, etc?

Frozen Tex on November 29, 2007 at 5:58 PM

I’ll ask Hillary the question about appointing Sandy Burger to be her campaign’s national security advisor.

Zetterson on November 29, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Allah, I seem to remember you being all for this debacle when so many predicted exactly what happened would happen.

I was all for it and still am. It was the best debate so far and also their highest-rated. Like I said in an earlier post, I don’t mind questions from the other side. Just disclose the affiliation.

Allahpundit on November 29, 2007 at 6:09 PM

What would you expect from a network whose owner (Ted Turner)doesn’t know who he wants to win the Iraq war? Heck, Turner hasn’t been sober in 50 years.

volsense on November 29, 2007 at 6:12 PM

I don’t mind questions from the other side. Just disclose the affiliation.

Allahpundit on November 29, 2007 at 6:09 PM

Can you imagine? Seriously, can you imagine them allowing a well informed Hotair reader 5 whole minutes to pose a question to Hillary about Sandy Burger? I mean really, can you imagine that??

That is my vision of Zetterson heaven!

Zetterson on November 29, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Allah, you’re missing the point. The Dems framed the subject of the debate, which was to paint the Republicans defensively within a stereotypical (leftist point-of-view framework), and not touching on the decisive issue of our times, like defense from Islamo-fascists, illegal immigration/border security, 2nd amendment, taxation, stemming socialism, etc.

stonemeister on November 29, 2007 at 6:14 PM

“There are quite a few things you might describe as Democratic ‘gotchas,’ and we are weeding those out, saving those.” Mr. Bohrman said. CNN wants to ensure that next Wednesday’s Republican event is “a debate of their party.”…

Bunch of “Do you still beat your wife questions” as we are faced with the fall of Western Civilization. In a month the general perception the msm will be pushing was that the republican youtube debate was ridiculous and the only ones who will remember the truth would be voting republican no matter what anyway.

peacenprosperity on November 29, 2007 at 6:18 PM

To be fair, I think the next Democrat debate should be hosted by Fox and moderated by Dennis Miller.

fogw on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

You were “for” a fraud? The Whole Shebang was supposta be ‘independent Repulicans” asking Republicans about Republican concerns. Instead we got DemPlants given a platform to ridicule Republicans

It was fake; a sham; a pathetic and ridiculous circus. Who would be “for” that except someone wishing to damage Republicans ?

Janos Hunyadi on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Well, I’d say that makes VP Bohrmon less than truthful. I was curious as to whether (best case senario) they just picked the questions they thought were important, which would naturally generate a left-wing slant; but that makes it seem much more intentional, and I daresay systemic.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2007 at 6:21 PM

fogw on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

I’d watch that. Or I would, if our local cable carried Fox News.

Frozen Tex on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM

I’m seriously waiting for someone to get fired, specifically for flying in a Democratic operative for the debate.

Vizzini on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM

The Whole Shebang was supposta be ‘independent Repulicans” asking Republicans about Republican concerns.
Janos Hunyadi on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

Are you sure about that janos? That was the impression I had at first too but looking back, I don’t think they ever actually said that the questioners were undecided Republicans. They did say that the focus groups were undecided Republicans (one of whome was leaning towards voting for the Silky Pony) but I don’t think they ever actually claimed that the questioners themselves were undecided republicans.

Zetterson on November 29, 2007 at 6:24 PM

The back-alley abortion criminalization questions was over-the-top and did not belong at a so-called for-the-Republicans debate. I don’t mind the question, but not as a so-called for-the-Republicans debate. Same for the gays in the military questions. We don’t care about that crap!

Was there really a confederate flag question like I heard somewhere? Didn’t see it in the debate transcript I read. That would be another CNN hand-picked hand grenade, if so.

RW Wacko on November 29, 2007 at 6:25 PM

“a debate of their party”

By “their” they mean the Dems?

P. James Moriarty on November 29, 2007 at 6:26 PM

To be fair, I think the next Democrat debate should be hosted by Fox and moderated by Dennis Miller.

fogw on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

I like that idea as well but you know their is no way in H.E. double hokey sticks the Democrats would ever have the B.A.L.L.S to allow it.

doriangrey on November 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM

I’m seriously waiting for someone to get fired, specifically for flying in a Democratic operative for the debate.

Vizzini on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Fired?! Hell, I’ll bet some of those idiots get raises and promotions. I really think they have no idea how the public actually views their left-slanted idiocy.

techno_barbarian on November 29, 2007 at 6:34 PM

I like that idea as well but you know their is no way in H.E. double hokey sticks the Democrats would ever have the B.A.L.L.S to allow it.

doriangrey on November 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM

Yeah, for fear of actually being exposed for what they are.

Zetterson on November 29, 2007 at 6:35 PM

Allah,

Don’t know if you saw this, but here is an update I found at…Media Matters.

More whining from them about how unfairly the Dems are being treated:

CNN’s Bohrman apologized to Republican candidates over question in YouTube debate, but has yet to apologize to Democrats.

Follow the link to see what his “apology” consisted of.

Buy Danish on November 29, 2007 at 6:42 PM

I didn’t mind the questions however cliche’ they were, but just tell us who’s asking them.

As a gay fiscal conservative, I want to ask the democrats some questions…may I, CNN?

SouthernGent on November 29, 2007 at 6:48 PM

Feist pointed out CNN “never presented our debate as a debate of questions from undecided voters.”
He did not directly answer when asked if CNN would more carefully vet questioners if it plans a similar debate in the future.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2007 at 6:51 PM

I believe we’re up to 8 now; somebody who worked with Dick Durbin on SocSecurity, and a Richardson guy who posed as a PaulNut (or is that simply a reflection of who the PaulNuts really are?)

steveegg on November 29, 2007 at 6:53 PM

And that’s out of 30 questions (at least that’s how many I counted on my tape).

steveegg on November 29, 2007 at 6:54 PM

As unbelievable (yet soooo believable) as this entire thing is, I just stopped by to comment on one particular item this time:

Exit question: If questions about whether women who abort should be locked up or whether Jesus would be pro-death penalty don’t count as “lobbying grenades,” what does?

Did anyone get a look at that stupid abortion question girl? Do those people never get tired of being clichés? I could have predicted the ratty hippy hair and the “smart glasses” without even seeing her. She’s like that dumbass (can’t remember her name, and don’t care) that Ingraham debated on O’Reilly last week. Why can’t they just look like normal people, why do they have to morph in to the classic liberal hippy douche bag college kid. I’d at least listen if they didn’t always make sure we first saw their hemp backpack, Che shirt, smart glasses, clogs, some sort of greasy/grungy hair and/or hipster hat… of course we don’t see those things until they hop out of the new Range Rover that daddy bought them.

RightWinged on November 29, 2007 at 6:55 PM

How does CNN explain the different standards for Democratic and Republican candidates? I still haven’t heard an answer to that one yet.

davenp35 on November 29, 2007 at 7:03 PM

I like that idea as well but you know their is no way in H.E. double hokey sticks the Democrats would ever have the B.A.L.L.S to allow it.

All it would take is a little creativity. Send all the Dem candidates a first class ticket to New York and tell them they are cordially invited to attend “A Night With Barbra” at the Waldorf Astoria in a grand tribute to George Soros. As a further enticement, tell them they will flown in on carbon friendly private jets fueled by solar panels and hamster wheels. All of this will be irresistable to a donk.

Get ‘em in the door, give ‘em a drool bib and slam the door behind them. Lights, camera, action.

fogw on November 29, 2007 at 7:04 PM

Feist asserted that conservative bloggers like Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, who has led the way in probing the backgrounds of questioners at the GOP debate, “are trying to distract from the issues.

Translation: You stupid plebes, stop looking into what we are doing. Don’t you know your role by now? We speak you listen. We direct you follow. We explain you accept. Doing anything else is distracting for us.

Weight of Glory on November 29, 2007 at 7:05 PM

The network looked into the backgrounds of people who submitted “very sensitive questions,” Feist said, but didn’t ask their party affiliation or whether they were associated with a campaign…

Apparently that background check was not as extensive as a quick Google search.

amerpundit on November 29, 2007 at 7:09 PM

That Politico story Allah links to in the update is hilarious.

John Gibson pointed out that the odds that 5,000 tapes would be narrowed down to 34 and out of which approximately 1/3 were Dem operatives would end up getting featured are nearly impossible.

And Fred Barnes just noted the same thing.

But they asked such good questions!, they will argue.

Buy Danish on November 29, 2007 at 7:11 PM

CNN is no more…

d1carter on November 29, 2007 at 7:14 PM

fogw on November 29, 2007 at 6:20 PM

What he said.

itzWicks on November 29, 2007 at 7:20 PM

The only thing that came out of the debate is:

CNN is not a serious News Network – look up Ted Turner to see company policy.

No questions on Global Wacky Warming…., Hmmmmm

No questions on the Economy….., Hmmmmm,

No substance.

Kini on November 29, 2007 at 7:24 PM

I’m seriously waiting for someone to get fired, specifically for flying in a Democratic operative for the debate.

Vizzini on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM

Welcome to this dimension. Is the alternative universe you live in a fair, honest and principled place? It must be if you made that silly statement above.

peacenprosperity on November 29, 2007 at 7:27 PM

They were not particularly useful questions. Gays in the military? Seriously, are Republicans around the country huddled over beers and chili unpacking the candidates’ long history of policy statements on that issue?

Will they take money from Log Cabin Republicans? I assume they’ll all take money from anyone slightly less crooked than Norman Hsu, if it’s offered.

Lead paint? Okay, fine, whatever.

The whole thing looks like a preliminary hearing/indictmenthearing in a criminal trial, in which controversial testimony was solicited with which to impeach the nominee later in the runup to the general election.

see-dubya on November 29, 2007 at 7:31 PM

Good grief, I’ve watched this story unfold and I really think it’s time for the Repubs to stop whining like a bunch of little leftist bitc**s. The debate was on CNN for God’s sake. Of course it was slanted to the democrats. That is what CNN does. It is a partisan network. Its party is the democrat party. Skewing political news in favor of the democrats is what they show up to work to do each day. Hillary and Wolf and Anderson Cooper run with the same posse. If you didn’t expect this, you should have. If you did expect this, you were right, so get over it.

When the debates come between each party’s actual candidate, they’re going to be on similarly democrat-leaning networks. Whomever hosts the future presidential debates, it ain’t gonna be Brit Hume, which means it’s going to be a democrat. And he or she will be there with a single purpose: to prop up Hillary and make the Republican look bad. So these Republican candidates might as well cut their teeth on some loaded questions from a couple of weasly nutjobs from the Clinton campaign. If they can’t take it, then get off the stage. Real Republicans don’t whine.

Rational Thought on November 29, 2007 at 7:32 PM

PBS News Hour did a segment on the debate. NOT ONE WORD about the weeds.

georgej on November 29, 2007 at 7:33 PM

Don’t you get it CNN…you are being monitored by people who are far more net savvy than you.

You don’t control information anymore.

Zach on November 29, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Feist asserted that conservative bloggers like Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, who has led the way in probing the backgrounds of questioners at the GOP debate, “are trying to distract from the issues.

Demanding full disclosure distracts from the issues? How Clintonian.

calbear on November 29, 2007 at 7:37 PM

These debates are simply too McDemocracy for me. Eight stiffs, bright lights, musical introductions to the questioning, Anderson “don’t call me Andy” Vanderbilt emcee’ing the event. What a crock. Why don’t we just give all 16 of these clowns their own reality show and whoever gets the best ratings as deterined by Arbitron becomes the Prez? Fer Chrissakes, talk about the ‘selling of the presidency’. Death, I have become ye.

DrW on November 29, 2007 at 7:37 PM

I haven’t read through the comments very well, and I hope I’m not going over trampled ground, but

- this Sam Feist is a douchebag, and is not seeing eye-to-eye with the other kids in the sandbox,

- everyone in the media talking about this wants to give AC cover — oh, he’s a real straight shooter, and I’m just sure he knew nothing about this, etc. — but, hello? He was picking the dang questions! Either he’s filthy or Feist made a grand effort to screw him to death, cause Feisty thinks the questions and questioners were just grand.

- AC’s first words on the matter indicate that he didn’t care a whit about the people behind the questions; he just didn’t like the notion that Kerr was actually working for Clinton.

Jaibones on November 29, 2007 at 7:40 PM

You haven’t heard them say that these were not useful questions.”

As long as the candidates are smart enough to provide useful answers, there’s really no such thing as a not-useful question. The interesting thing to me is that it really shows the question selecters are so far to the left that they thought these would be good issues for a Republican debate. I wonder if they thought this was what Republican voters are truly most interested, or if they assume that these are the questions all voters want to hear. All voters, of course, being left leaning.
I mean, flying the gay military man to the forum is just ridiculous. Is this really who CNN thought Republican candidates most needed to hear from? Why? Their decision-making processes and results are the fascinating thing here.

MayBee on November 29, 2007 at 7:58 PM

Rational Thought on November 29, 2007 at 7:32 PM

Amen, brother.

Been saying all day we should quit bitchin’ and be proud of the fact our guys are willing to take any questions from any voter of any party in any forum on any network. Period.

Only then can we continue to critize the Dems for being too chickenshit to debate on Fox. Otherwise we’re just a bunch of whiners.

BacaDog on November 29, 2007 at 8:04 PM

I mean, flying the gay military man to the forum is just ridiculous. Is this really who CNN thought Republican candidates most needed to hear from? Why? Their decision-making processes and results are the fascinating thing here.

5,000 submissions and one of the two “follow up” slots just happens to go to the queer general who works on Hillary’s campaign? Give me a break! That just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

I don’t have a problem with most of the questions but the fact that the questioners were so blatantly misrepresented as to who they were. If I were the GOP, I’d pull the press credentials of CNN for the rest of the campaign. Let the smug Mr. Cooper try to figure out what is going on at the GOP Convention from the parking lot outside!*

CNN’s website, of course, doesn’t even mention the story that is all over the place. I guess they expect us to simply lap up their propoganda like we did when they were the only game in town instead of the third-rate operation they have become. Shame on them and shame on us if we don’t call them on it in the same way that CBS got called for faking those memos.

*If Cooper was really clueless about the people involved, shame on him but he should also pounding down the doors at CNN- his whole professional reputation took a huge hit last night and that fact is only now beginning to be realized.

highhopes on November 29, 2007 at 8:26 PM

Their excuses don’t answer the primary criticism at all. The problem is the double standard for candidates depending on what party they are in. Why weren’t the Dems treated in the same manner as the Republicans were? Is it because CNN has a liberal bias? That is the issue. Actually, that’s the only issue. Their defense of their actions in forming debate questions doesn’t address this at all.

davenp35 on November 29, 2007 at 8:58 PM

Oh man, you know Colmes hated having to read that intro.

RightWinged on November 29, 2007 at 9:01 PM

(for anyone watching H&C)

RightWinged on November 29, 2007 at 9:02 PM

It must be the healthy Fox/CNN competition that’s inspiring this, but Alan Colmes is characterizing the debate as CNN’s disastrous charade

Buy Danish on November 29, 2007 at 9:03 PM

Media Matters said something?

Who gives a sh*t?

Good Lt on November 29, 2007 at 9:08 PM

“It’s interesting to see our critics really focusing on the questioners, but not really focusing on the questions. You haven’t heard them say that these were not useful questions.”

This just has such a TNR flavor to it, doesn’t it?

Topsecretk9 on November 29, 2007 at 9:25 PM

I’m seriously waiting for someone to get fired, specifically for flying in a Democratic operative for the debate.

Vizzini on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM

And if they don’t, a thorough investigation into CNN’s FCC license needs to take place.

eanax on November 29, 2007 at 9:58 PM

If it’s not a big deal Mr. CNN corporate lackey, when are the Democrants going on Fox?

Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re afraid of being asked hard questions.

benrand on November 29, 2007 at 10:01 PM

I’m seriously waiting for someone to get fired,

specifically for flying in a Democratic operative for the debate.

Vizzini on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 PM
And if they don’t, a thorough investigation into CNN’s FCC license needs to take place.

eanax on November 29, 2007 at 9:58 PM

Kind of like investigating traitors who give secrets to the ny times? Kind of like imprisoning people who steal and destroy classified documents from the national archives?

Hee hee. You spacemen are funny.

peacenprosperity on November 29, 2007 at 11:35 PM

Ted Faturos (the corn subsidy questioner) responds,

http://www.jasoncoleman.com/BlogArchives/2007/11/ted_faturos_responds.html

–Jason

Jason Coleman on November 30, 2007 at 1:25 AM

“a debate of their party”

By “their” they mean the Dems?

P. James Moriarty on November 29, 2007 at 6:26 PM

By ‘their’ they mean ‘not ours.’ As if we didn’t already know.

James on November 30, 2007 at 7:53 AM

Actually there was another plant that has not been mentioned by Michelle (I dont think).

In the CNN focus group, one of the alledged “undecided” GOP voters said she was leaning toward John Edwards.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhkyd4Z_EEc

What you are missing is before the clip starts, the host asked the group who made up their minds during the debate, and this lady is the only person to raise her hand.

My guess is she is a weed as well.

I love gardening.

faraway on November 30, 2007 at 9:24 AM

OK, this is the clip to see (ignore the other one).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xlotQEh5e0

faraway on November 30, 2007 at 9:26 AM

CNN came out with a statement saying something to the effect that the issue brought up by the Hillary camp General was an important issue.

I was watching the CNN graph of the focus group reaction while the question was asked, answered, rebutted, etc…and during the whole time, the reaction stayed low. When the rebuttal came, and the Gen. got up to speak, the reaction from both men and women dipped to 2 and 3.

This issue is not one that is going to make or break a voter’s decision. In fact, according to CNN’s own graph, it looks pretty insignificant compared to even the other issues they covered that weren’t truly conservative.

CNN’s excuses for not identifying who this man was don’t hold water. There’s simply no way they couldn’t have known. Until there is a Democratic Debate where conservative issues are raised as questions, a double standard will remain.

serpentineshel on November 30, 2007 at 9:39 AM

I see some others have noted this early on. The ladies name is Sharon Turner from Tampa. Very common name – hard to find anything on her.

faraway on November 30, 2007 at 9:45 AM

oops. lady’s

faraway on November 30, 2007 at 9:45 AM

We are looking at this whole thing the wrong way.

The big headline should be:
“GOP undecided voter discovered asking questions at GOP Debate”

faraway on November 30, 2007 at 9:50 AM

CNN and its political director see themselves as “objective”. But to the CNN political director, being objective means doing evrything humanly possible to elect Hillary Clinton. Just look at the last Democratic candidates debate. Obama was forced to explain his support for drivers licenses for illegals while liberal host Wolf Blitzer allowed Hillary Clinton to just say a one word answer of “no”. Blitzer did not ask her to explain her constant change of position. To the baby boomers who run CNN, Hillary Clinton is just like them and they are just like her. That explains liberal CNN anchorman John Roberts on Thursday morning. He brought back the Clinton supporter/gay general for a rehabilitation interview. Roberts acted like a trial lawyer doing a redirect examination of a witness who has been decimated on crossexamination. Roberts’ interview essentially asked the retired “general” to agree with CNN that neither the general or CNN did anything wrong. This was the biggest CNN suck up interview since Larry King asked Bill Clinton: “What is like to be so generous and so brilliant?”

Larraby on November 30, 2007 at 11:01 AM