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Whisper in Brokaw's Ear

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, October 3 2008

We're now two debates in to the general election, neither of which, I think it's fair to say, made a stellar case for professional moderation. Gwen Ifill seemed somehow restrained last night, pushing for consensus where none really existed. (I'm thinking of this exchange on marriage equality). And Jim Lehrer seemed to barely be a presence at the first debate. The whole thing kinda makes you wish for snowmen, doesn't it? The YouTube debate certainly had its ups and downs. But it did push the candidates outside their talking point comfort zones -- something that hasn't happened in the general election.

The debate Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Nashville, Tennessee, is making noise about being slightly more open. Anyone can suggest a question for the moderator through MyDebates.org, the colaboration between MySpace and the Commission on Presidential Debates:

You can influence the content of the Presidential Debates!...All questions will be sent to the moderator, Tom Brokaw, for consideration in the Town Hall debate.

"Sent...for consideration," certainly has echoes of "put in my circular file." But low participation would probably only convince the rather staid Commission that people are happy with the Lehrer/Brokaw/Ifill status quo. Anyway, time's a wastin' -- the deadline is tonight. Here's Why Tuesday?'s question:

Do you support the Weekend Voting Act? Moving Election Day to Saturday and Sunday makes voting more convenient, adds pollworkers, and eases the Tuesday rush. What are your plans to sustain increased voter participation for generations to come?

You can sign a petition to send along to Brokaw with Why Tuesday's question, or submit your own.

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