Joe Biden completed a town hall with a group of undecided voters in Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 17th. It took a little bit for me to find the full town hall and I was on vacation last week, so some of this may be a little outdated since the news cycle evolves minute by minute. That being said, I thought it was an innovative idea for CNN to do the town hall as a drive-in, given the times we are currently living in. However, was CNN the right place for which Biden to do the town hall? Would Fox News have been a better outlet so that he could have been challenged on key issues that he may go on about with inaccuracies? This may a small point compared to the rest of the takeaways from the town hall.
One major difference between Trump and Biden’s town halls was that it seemed like Biden had a plan for key issues from those that questioned him. I didn’t hear of a plan from Trump during his town hall; just a pontification of how great he and his administration are and his viewpoints on issues, which doesn’t really help the American citizens. I also like that he showed empathy to one of the voters that had two relatives die from COVID-19. I think that empathy is one of his strongest assets, given the life experiences that he has had. I also appreciated how he laid out a plan in order to hopefully restore law and order and condemned the violent behavior. He even proposed a meeting of the minds for all. Whether this would work remains to be seen, especially if he is elected, but it is a good plan.
There were a couple of things about the town hall that concerned me. Joe Biden seemed to ramble at times when he was trying to lay out a plan to a potential voter. It became distracting and hard to follow what his point was. I also thought that his choice of words, specifically his plan for the coronavirus pandemic, may push voters away from him. Biden mentioned national mask mandates and the enforcement of them by the governors of each state. There are plenty of people that do not want government interfering in their life, and this could be a prime example of that for them. However, these people may not be voting for Biden anyway, so it could be a moot point. Biden also focused on Donald Trump too much while he was answering questions. I understand it may make sense to point out your opponent’s failures to rise to the top (if this ends up being the case), but it sounded redundant after a while.
I like Anderson Cooper as a journalist and thinks he is one of the most talented of our time. However, I thought that he was not tough enough on Joe Biden and did not fact check him enough. Some of the questions could have been considered “softball questions” and there was one question that he asked about what the Attorney General said that sounded a little counterproductive to the discussion. I understand that the town halls occurred with two different moderators and on different networks, but that doesn’t mean that the journalistic standards and ways with which to question the candidate should differ. Each side will question one another on their mistakes, blunders, etc., but it’s the way that the candidate answers the question that shows how effective they could be as a leader. I’m describing a media utopia that may never exist, right?