Debating distractions

Of all the debates held in Minnesota over the years, few rival the traditional “last debate” at the Fitzgerald Theater for substance. Moderator Gary Eichten had a simple rule: The focus is on the ideas and content of the candidates up for election, not the ability of the audience to cheer louder than their opponents.

This week, a moderator of a national debate — Brian Williams — set ground rules that the audience’s job primarily was to be quiet and let the candidates live and die on their own substance.

Some politicians hated that idea.

  • Mark Gisleson

    I prefer quiet debates, but the audience should always have the right to boo the moderator.


  • Dale

    I approve of not allowing the audience to respond. It allows all watching to focus on the candidates and the issues. When the audience is allowed to respond the debate ceases to be a informational event but entertainment. Instead of focusing on issues the candiate seeks remarks that will cause audience reaction. We end up watching, not to be informed but be entertained. If I want to be “entertained” I’ll watch a movie.