NY Times Critic: CNN Turned Democrats' Debate Selection Into Game Show

July 19th, 2019 3:42 PM

After hosting the first two-night debate of Democratic candidates at the end of June for the 2020 presidential election, CNN decided to add some drama to the process of selecting participants for the second round, which will take place on July 30 and 31.

That choice drew fire from James Poniewozik, chief television critic for the New York Times, who slammed the selection as giving the Thursday night program “the appearance of a Powerball drawing and just as much depth.” Ouch.

In an article posted on Friday, Poniewozik gave his item the title of “The Night Democracy Became the Lotto” and stated:

Democracy, as a certain other news outlet has famously observed, dies in darkness. But if you just want to beat it up and humiliate it for an hour, simply stick it in a box.

Or two boxes, to be more precise. The devices that CNN deployed Thursday night, in a prime time live drawing for the ... Democratic debates, turned a momentous and fraught election into a farcical combo of the N.B.A. draft and a Lotto drawing.

Making the “game show atmosphere” complete were correspondents Brianna Keilar and Victor Blackwell -- as well as Ana Cabrera, who was given “the job of shuffling clunky placards with candidate names and debate-night dates, as if they were running the world’s wonkiest three-card monte game.” 

Poniewozik asked, "Is it any surprise that CNN, the home of saturation coverage and interminable countdown clocks, would try to wring more airtime out of the debates?”

The critic concluded hitting CNN hard calling the display "an empty tease" that "exploited" their liberal viewers' anxiety for the 2020 election:

You could say the whole stunt was harmless and silly. … But that’s exactly the problem. The election isn’t meaningless. It isn’t a harmless laugh.

Those mammoth debate ratings are high for a reason, and it isn’t the dazzling special effects.

Obviously, this correspondent for the New York Times can only be referring to one "reason:" throwing Donald Trump out of the White House in the 2020 presidential election.