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What CNN is doing to protect Democrats from themselves in Tuesday’s debate

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GOP 2016 DebateThe makeup of CNN’s Democratic presidential debate set to air on Tuesday is missing a subtle detail that was present during last month’s Republican presidential debate aired by the network.

The left’s equivalent of staunch conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The fact that CNN might be stacking the deck in favor of the Democratic Party is not breaking news — the irony here is that far-left zealots are complaining about it.

You see, they want a hard-nose progressive panelist on hand to push the issues they consider important.

So much so that the online activism group Roots Action has launched a one-sentence petition to CNN: “For the sake of basic fairness and balance, you should add to your panel an unapologetic progressive for Tuesday’s debate.”

The petition is getting plenty of play on social media:

Hewitt was one of three panelists chosen by CNN for the GOP debate, and he added a distinct right-wing perspective to the proceedings. But Tuesday’s debate features four straight-up journalists.

Huffington Post media critic Jeff Cohen, who co-founded Roots Action, pointed out that the Democratic debate panel will be “composed of four journalists CNN presents as neutral: CNN’s Bash and three CNN anchors (Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol.)”

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While his take on “neutral” is interesting, Cohen noted that “CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.”

And while the network may deny it, critics will suggest that Hewitt’s presence was intended to pull the GOP candidates further right before a national TV audience, while the absence of a left-wing counterpart Tuesday allows the Democratic candidates to appear more mainstream — if national socialist Bernie Sanders can pull that feat off.

Panelists play a key role in the overall feel and direction of a debate. Cohen cited an example of Hewitt criticizing President Obama over Syria and for saying the Republican candidates were “more qualified than” Hillary Clinton.

“It’s clear that who gets to pose questions has impact on the tenor of the debate,” he wrote.

Tom Tillison


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