Lilia Tamm Dixon / The Open Debate Coalition – 2016-10-12 01:02:50
Moderators Cite Open Debate Coalition — But Ask Wrong Questions
Lilia Tamm Dixon / The Open Debate Coalition
(October 11, 2016) — Sunday night’s debate included many surreal moments. One was when debate moderators cited the “bipartisan Open Debate Coalition’s online forum where Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes” in front of 66 million Americans.
This instantly legitimized our work together for the long haul. It cemented the idea with reporters, politicians, and the public that it’s honorable and acceptable when regular people across the political spectrum come together to assert the public’s voice in political debates.
This recognition would not have happened without all of us submitting great questions, voting, and sharing with others — earning our way onto the big stage together.
But then, something ironic and tragic happened. They asked a question from our voting platform about Wikileaks that received . . . .13 votes. All of the top 30 questions that moderators promised to consider received over 20,000 votes, and the top two questions each received over 65,000 votes.
This was an unfortunate example of cherrypicking by moderators to give their own questions the veneer of representing the public. Popular questions on guns, Social Security, government reform, student debt, climate, immigration, and other issues went unasked.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Cilizza wrote, “Ostensibly, this was a debate for the people and by the people . . . But that’s not really how it turned out.”
The final debate is moderated by Fox’s Chris Wallace on October 19. Can you sign a petition urging Wallace to do right by the public and ask questions from the top of the PresidentialOpenQuestions voting site? Click here.
Signatures will be delivered to Wallace. And after signing, you can contact Fox directly on social media.
ABC and CNN asked our coalition for regular updates on the voting progress and seemed eager to embrace public participation.
Notably, a question asked on taxes was almost verbatim the #12 question on our site. And questions on health care and the Supreme Court were very in line with questions #8 and #50. But a couple good questions in 90 minutes is not enough.
For debates to be useful to voters, they need to represent the will of the people — not be gotcha, fluff, and news-of-the-week questions that media elites love but that won’t be relevant a few weeks later.
We will have some exciting news to announce soon as we build toward the vision for bottom-up debate questions. But right now, Chris Wallace needs to get our message — please sign the petition asking him to ask questions from the top of the PresidentialOpenQuestions voting site on Oct. 19.
Thank you for working to make debates represent the will of the people.
Lilia Tamm Dixon is the director of the Open Debate Coalition.
ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION:
Urge Chris Wallace to ask questions from the top of the ODC’s list
At the Open Debate Coalition’s site, the public cast 3.6 million votes on over 15,800 questions for the presidential candidates. Voters across the political spectrum participated — along with groups as diverse as the NRA, NAACP, NARAL, and dozens of others.
While the top questions had over 65,000 votes, the main question from the site asked by debate moderators on October 9 has only 13 votes.
Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the final debate on October 19.
ACTION: Sign the petition to Chris Wallace on this page:
Presidential debate questions should represent the will of the American people. We urge you to ask the presidential candidates questions from the top of the PresidentialOpenQuestions.com website.
Your signatures and notes will be delivered to Fox. After signing, you can contact Fox directly on social media.
Questions that Need to Be Asked
Environmentalists Against War
Some suggestions for questions that are not yet on the Fox question list include:
Ask about the unaudited Pentagon’s inability to account for billions of lost dollars.
Ask about the $1 trillion Obama wants to squander on new nuclear weapons.
Ask about the military’s history of causing chaos — and recruiting enemies — around the world.
Ask about the military’s consumption of fossil fuels, its generation of toxic wastes, and its unregulated generation of climate-changing pollution.
Ask about the role of defense corporations in promoting wars abroad and the militarization of police at home.
Ask about the role the control of fossil fuel resources plays in US foreign policy and war-making decisions.
Ask about the accusations of war crimes leveled at members of the Bush Administration for the lies that lead to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Ask whether it makes more sense to address the increasing devastation caused by climate change instead of spending trillions of dollars on foreign wars.
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