Politico and Atlanta Paper Skip Dem Screw Up in Georgia Race

June 7th, 2017 2:13 PM

Candidate struck dumb by opponent's question.

Would that not strike you as a dramatic moment in a political debate? You probably would agree and so do most media outlets that reported on the June 6 debate between Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff running in the June 20 special election for Georgia's 6th Congressional District. In fact, many reports headlined the moment that Ossoff was asked by Handel who he would vote for in that election. Mediaite was among the outlets that featured that debate moment by observing that Karen Handel Silences Jon Ossoff With One Simple Question During Congressional Debate:

On Tuesday night, Ossoff and Handel and faced off in a locally televised debate. And one moment that is going viral was when Handel asked the Democratic candidate one simple question.

“Who are you going to vote for in this election?”

Ossoff was literally speechless.

Why was he speechless? It’s because Ossoff cannot vote for himself due to the fact that he does not live in the district he’s actually running in, something he was criticized for back in April.

Not only was that debate moment reported by Mediaite but also by most of the rest of the press with two very notable exceptions...Politico whose shtick as you can guess from their name is politics and by the Atlanta Journal Constitution whose circulation area covers the Georgia 6th Congressional District. Please check out the Politico story by Elena Schneider and see if you can somehow find any mention of that dramatic debate moment.

As for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there were several stories about the debate all of which pretty much avoided you-know-what starting with a June 7 story by Tamar Hallerman ironically titled The most striking 6th District debate moments which avoided mention of what most other news outlets reported as the most striking debate moment. A longer AJC article about the debate by Hallerman and two other reporters also somehow managed to miss Ossoff's stuck dumb moments.

About the closest the AJC came to mentioning the dramatic debate moment came not from its reporters but from passing quotes by observers such as the University of Michigan Director of Debate Aaron Kall who very quickly passed over Ossoff's moments of embarrassing silence with this quickie observation:

Handel did her best to press Ossoff on the residency issue and the rhetorical question about voting in the election was quite clever. Stories about driving on Ga. 400 and supporting his fiance’s career was probably his best retort.

Kall was exceeded in his brushoff brevity of what other media sites described as a debate highlight by Democrat strategist Stefan Turkheimer who quickly dismissed it with this observation:

He handily deflected claims about not living in the 6th district, something he framed as support for his Emory enrolled fiance.

So while most of the rest of the media reported on those dramatic moments of Ossoff silence or even highlighted it, both Politico and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution acted more like information cloaking devices than as news outlets.