Richelieu at the Weekly Standard thinks so:
What a depressing debate. CNN’s long slide into mediocrity accelerates. Is this what running for president of the greatest democracy in the world has become? Standing in front of CNN’s corporate logo in a hall full of yowling Ron Paul loons and enduring clumsy webcam questions from Unabomber look-a-likes in murky basements?
but I disagree; the basements weren’t all murky. Some of those basements actually looked quite bright.
Several bloggers are upset that there were Hillary campaign employees planted in the audience. I would like to see a debate of an entire audience of Hillary employees asking questions to the Republican candidates.
After all, campaign politics is all about bringing your message across under pressure, and that would make for an interesting evening (moronic questions and all -“What Would Jesus Do about the death penalty?” included).
James Joyner, however, doesn’t let CNN off the hook:
If one didn’t know better, one might suspect that CNN intentionally assembled a bunch of yahoos in the crowd to represent the Republican base and then fed the candidates gotcha questions from Democrats in order to make them look bad. That would be entertaining, I suppose, but horridly bad journalism. It’s perhaps more hopeful to think that they simply didn’t bother to vet the questioners. Of course, that’s not exactly good journalism, either.
Since CNN is known for its fine journalism, however, there’s almost certainly a third alternative explanation. It alludes me at the moment.
UPDATE: Wizbang’s Jay Tea offers up a new CNN slogan: “If It’s News To You, It’s News To Us.”
Leave it to ScrappleFace (who’s actually nice looking) to come up with the best question, though:
More about the debate here