Hunter from Daily Kos seems to summarize what EVERYONE is saying was an absolutely horrific performance by ABC news hosting the debate last night:
After the first forty minutes of last night's Democratic debate, it was clear we were watching something historic. Not historic in a good way, mind you, but historic in the sense of being something so deeply embarrassing to the nation that it will be pointed to, in future books and documentary works, as a prime example of the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless, into self-celebrated vapidity, and into a now-complete inability or unwillingness to cover the most important affairs of the nation to any but the most shallow of depths.
Congratulations are clearly in order. ABC had two hours of access to two of the three remaining candidates vying to lead the most powerful nation in the world, and spent the decided majority of that time mining what the press considers the true issues facing the republic. Bittergate; Rev. Wright; Bosnia; American flag lapel pins. That's what's important to the future of the country...
...But even slanted questions could be forgiven, of the press; what was more inexplicable was the intentional wallowing in substanceless, meaningless "gaffe" politics. It says something truly impressive about the press that a few statements by a presidential candidate's preacher bear far more weight to the future of our nation than the challenges of terrorism or war. It is truly a celebration of our own national collapse into idiocracy that we can furrow our brows and question the patriotism of a candidate, deeply probe their patriotism based on whether or not they regularly don a made-in-China American flag pin, but a substantive discussion of energy policy, or healthcare, or the deficit, or the housing crisis, or global climate change, or the government approval of torture, or trade issues, or the plight of one-industry small American towns, or the fight over domestic espionage and FISA, or the makeup of the Supreme Court -- those were of no significance, in comparison.