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BY BOB JONES – I like candidate “debates”, even though the definition of that term has been totally bastardized since the days when I participated in the National Forensic Society version when I was in high school and college. We had to bone up on one topic, cite references, and go back-and-forth between us debaters. I was a winner in my sophomore and junior years. Also in the Extemporaneous competition.

Local candidate “debates” have been a joke going back to my own time in television. Candidates set the terms. Most of the questioners are reporters with minimal background on heavy-duty issues. They ask the obvious. “How do you feel about…?” “What would you do if…”

The reporters don’t know much. They throw softballs, the candidates don’t answer the questions, and the moderators move on to something else.

The Hawaii News Now debate was a Gong Show event. Participants’ audience fans cheered or booed. Anchor Keahi Tucker acted like Alex Trebec amusing a game show audience by asking candidates stupid — really stupid — questions. Keahi, have you no shame?

I would hope Hawaii News Now executive Rick Blangiardi would be personally embarrassed, but probably not because he let that happen two years ago, too. Rick’s selling a game show, not a serious news program. He’s a salesman and always has been. Not a provider of news. I don’t know if he’s married or had grown-up kids, but if so I’d hope they read this and say “Dad, why are you always embarrassing us?”

Bob Jones is a MidWeek columnist. Reach him at BanyanHouse@hula.net

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