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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 05:04 PM ET, 12/16/2011

Karl Rove forgets himself

Where’s the self-awareness, Mr. Rove? (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer) (Peter Kramer - AP)
Earlier this week, Karl Rove lamented the power that the national media accumulates via sponsorship of Republican debates. This lament came in the form of an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. Rove’s point is that the crazy schedule of debates has led to the “most unpredictable, rapidly shifting, and often downright inexplicable primary race I’ve ever witnessed.”

Hold on: Isn’t democracy supposed to be messy?

A few of the contentions in the op-ed are just too precious not to juxtapose with a reminder of just who the author of those contentions is.

What we’re watching are not really debates. They are seven- or eight-person news conferences. Their choppy nature makes cogent argument difficult and thoughtful policy discussion almost nonexistent. There’s a premium placed on memorable sound bites and snappy comebacks. Those are the clips that are endlessly replayed.

This, from a guy who was dubbed the the Napoleon of Insinuendo.

Debates transfer power to the media, draining it from the campaigns.

This, from a guy who works for the media.

Moderators and their news organizations—through questions they frame or select—have more impact than candidates on what’s covered and discussed.

This, from a guy who’s made his living in a land with a free press.

Because each debate is a lavish feast of comments and confrontations, the media also decide what aspects are most worthy of post-debate coverage.

This, from a guy---well, what on earth does he expect?

By  |  05:04 PM ET, 12/16/2011

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