Friday, October 30, 2015

10 TIPS for Moderators to Improve Political Debates

1.  Ask a direct question about a specific issue.

     Example:  Should there be mandatory prison time for corporate executives who 
     knowingly approve for sale products with potentially lethal safety defects?  Why or why

     Example:   What specific steps need to be taken to solve the student debt crisis?

2.  Ask every candidate the same question.  It might be called a debate, but it's not possible with ten candidates on stage to have a debate.   So at least get each candidate to address specific issues.  

3.  When the candidate ignores the question and talks about something totally different as John Kasich did with his first question, cut him off.  His time to answer is done.  When candidates know they can't talk when refusing to answer a question, behavior will hopefully change.  This is an easy rule for candidates to understand.   If the candidate doesn't immediately address the question asked, the candidate's mic will be cut.    Currently, candidates know they can ignore the question and make any political speech they choose.   It's not surprising that's what they do.  The loser is the voting public. 

4.  When asked a specific question about a specific issue, and the candidate talks in generalities, ask for specifics.  Ask for evidence.

5.  Do not ask the candidate about another candidate.  Do not ask the candidate about what he said about another candidate.   

6.  Ask no questions about polls.   They have nothing to do with a candidate's position on a specific issue.  

7.  Remember the two-fold goal.   It's to get the candidate's specific position on specific issues, and to hold the candidate accountable for those positions be the issue the budget or climate change or Syria or the Iran Nuclear Deal.   If the candidate has no facts and no evidence to support his or her position, that should become apparent when the moderator asks for specifics and evidence and there isn't any. 

8.  Remember, a candidate debate is NOT about you the moderator.   You're not the star. The star is the direct question requiring a specific answer.   Ask direct questions.

9.  Invite someone from the BBC's HARDtalk to come to your network to give a seminar on how to ask questions. 

10.  For levity, if any candidate mentions the liberal media, LAUGH.   We have a status quo media, and we have a highly profitable propaganda network those who don't require facts or rational thought like to watch.  Liberal media?   Nope. 


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