Networks right to ignore debate rules

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

We’re not always among the first to cheer for TV news, but kudos &045;&045; we hope &045;&045; to the networks for refusing to go along with ridiculous rules that would dictate which camera angles they can use during tonight’s live presidential debate.

Both the Bush and Kerry campaigns apparently signed off on a laundry list of details and rules regarding the debate &045;&045; from the space between the podiums to the fact that neither can ask the other a question.

But the rules also state that the networks covering the debates can only use certain camera angles, ostensibly to avoid getting the candidates &uot;caught&uot; on their bad side or making the wrong kind of reaction face.

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Perhaps the candidates want to avoid the sort of bad moments caught on cameras in previous debates &045;&045; the elder President Bush checking his watch or Al Gore sighing in such a fashion it was parodied at length on &uot;Saturday Night Live.&uot;

But with everything else so orchestrated in this debate, we’re glad TV networks are saying they plan to ignore the campaigns’ &uot;agreement&uot; over camera angles.

We believe this debate and the others upcoming are important to watch, but we can’t imagine why any self-respecting news organization would limit &045;&045; literally &045;&045; the angles it covers.

We’ll be watching tonight not only to hear the candidates but to see if the rules are broken.