Harger: It’s time to try something different regarding presidential debates

Jun 25, 2024, 6:16 AM

presidential debate...

Banners are placed outside of CNN studios ahead of the first presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia on June 24, 2024. (Photo: Christian Monterrosa, Getty Images)

(Photo: Christian Monterrosa, Getty Images)

Is it going to change anyone’s mind? It’s hard not to be cynical about the CNN Presidential Debate coming up Thursday evening.

There was a time when presidential debates meant something. They could influence undecided voters. People could discern policy differences and make a decision.

Gang, this ain’t it. Does anyone truly think this will be a high-minded affair? Is anyone tuning in to discern policy differences between Presidents Biden and Trump?

Have you met anyone undecided? Yet, we will listen and watch.

More KIRO Newsradio Opinions: Mayfield says Democracy needs your help

“The Jerry Springer Show” has come to the debate stage. Biden’s going to sound confused. Trump’s going to say something provocative. This is not hard to predict.

And it’s not just the candidates who will try to go over the top to get your attention and your vote. No, cable news and social media are going to confirm your beliefs for you.

If you’re a progressive, Rachel Maddow and MSNBC will tell you that President Biden surprised everyone with his stamina and stability on stage. What a terrible man Donald Trump is. If you’re a conservative, Sean Hannity and Fox News will tell you how much sharper Trump was than Biden, and how he told the hard truths in a brave performance. Something about the Biden crime family.

Whatever your political persuasion, worry not. Those beliefs will be confirmed for you Thursday night if you allow it to happen. I’d encourage you to try something different this time around. Check out the debate and sit with it for a while. The debate actually starts at 6:01 p.m., so tune in then.

The debate ends around 7:30 p.m. Turn off the TV and think about what you just saw. Try to think without Lawrence O’Donnell or Laura Ingraham forming your thoughts for you. Don’t go on social media for a bit.

More from Charlie Harger: White House Press’ ‘Nerd Prom’ is a bad look

You’re a smart person. What stood out to you about the presidential debate?

If you’re a Biden supporter, what’s one thing that Trump said that you didn’t completely disagree with? If you’re a Trump supporter, what’s one thing that Biden said that made you say, “Well, he’s not wrong on that.”

I’m not going to be naïve and say thinking for yourself will change everything about this election. But what I can say is that if you slow down, think for yourself and avoid the heated rhetoric … you might be surprised at what you discover.

So, Thursday night, challenge yourself: Think independently and see beyond the Jerry Springer debate stage.

Charlie Harger is the News Director for and KIRO Newsradio.

More KIRO Newsradio Opinions

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

Aurora avenue...

Charlie Harger

Harger: Local media must keep shining light on crime-riddled Aurora Avenue

Day and night, you see women forced to walk the sidewalks, often stepping into traffic, risking their lives to find customers along Aurora Avenue.

6 hours ago

biden farenthold...

Dave Ross

Ross: Biden is out of the presidential race, just as Farenthold predicted. What can he predict next?

I found Joe Biden had removed himself from the race and thought of Farenthold, my favorite NYT reporter who predicted that very thing three weeks ago.

1 day ago

Image: President Joe Biden speaks about the high cost of prescription drugs and child care at Green...

Steve Coogan

‘Disarray:’ KIRO, KTTH hosts comment on Biden withdrawal, Harris ascension

The KIRO Newsradio and KTTH hosts who spoke about the development with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to MyNorthwest offered varying opinions.

2 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Netflix Decides to Change Their Subscription Options

What is Netflix up to this time? They’re just changing the plans they offer for the hundredth time. Gee Scott joins the SMN crew to talk about all things Netflix. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to […]

4 days ago

vote counts...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: One simple trick to ensure your vote actually counts

We should all care deeply whether our vote counts or not. And there is one surefire way to actually do that … check yourself!

4 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Tipping Culture’s NEW Incognito Way of Getting $$$

Toulouse Petit in Lower Queen Anne started charging a 5% “Living-wage” surcharge on all checks. The SMN crew and Gee Scott have some thoughts on this. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio […]

5 days ago

Harger: It’s time to try something different regarding presidential debates