A raging, unhinged Donald Trump threatened Hillary Clinton with prison during a presidential debate unlike any other. But corporate media pundits said he won.
Before tonight’s debate, ABC and CNN agreed with the Open Debate Coalition, an organization made up of Democrats and Republicans of widely different views, that they would consider asking Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump some of the 30 highest-voted questions on the Open Debate website.
Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz appear to have broken that agreement in a fairly spectacular way.
There seemed to be only one question that the moderators claimed came from Open Debate, which was asked by Raddatz:
This next question comes from the public through the bipartisan Open Debate Coalition’s online form where Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes. This question involves WikiLeaks’ release of reported excerpts of Secretary Clinton’s paid speeches, which she has refused to release, and one line in particular in which you, Secretary Clinton, reportedly say you need both a public and private position on certain issues. So Tiu from Virginia asks, is it OK for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance on issues?
However, this was not one of the 30 most popular questions — most of which involved large public policy questions, such as gun control, Social Security, and global warming.
Moreover, it does not appear to have been asked at all by anyone on the Open Debate website. It’s impossible to be sure, since over 15,000 questions were submitted. But Google searches of the website for “WikiLeaks” and “two-faced” and “private stance” return no relevant results. [See update, below.]
Finally, such a question would have violated the Open Debate rules, which state that “Questions must not name or allude to a candidates and must be able to be posed to either candidate. (This is to curtail gotcha questions, avoid statements that are directed at candidates instead of posing questions, and to keep the focus on issues of long-term import to voters.)”
Update: The question asked by Raddatz was in fact submitted to the Open Debate website and appears here.
Only 13 people voted for the question to be asked at the debate. By comparison, over 75,000 voted for the most popular question, about background checks for gun sales. Over 20,000 voted for the 30th most popular question.
Key Open Debate members Lilia Tamm Dixon, Grover Norquist, and Adam Green issued a post-debate statement that Raddatz’s actions were “an unfortunate example of cherrypicking by moderators to give their own questions the veneer of representing the public. Popular questions on issues such as guns, Social Security, government reform, student debt, and immigration went unasked.”
Norquist, president of the conservative organization Americans for Tax Reform, also said this on Twitter: