KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

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.

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“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.

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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 MyNorthwest.com and KIRO Newsradio.

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