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Make the loud man stop yelling

By Tim Fernholz

Here’s how NBC can make up for the embarrassing audio mix-up during last night’s Democratic primary debate broadcast: Use those powers for good by cutting off the mics of the shoutiest, most solipsistic candidates.

Is Mayor Bill DeBlasio still shouting as you proceed into a commercial break? Is Representative Tulsi Gabbard ignoring the question to launch into her stump speech? Is former Representative Beto O’Rourke telling a story about a painting? Cut the mic.

There’s still time to give José Díaz-Balart the ability to cut off any candidate who sounds like Yoda when speaking Spanish. (There’s also time to shut off the mic of Chuck Todd, who asked some terrible questions on everything from gun laws to foreign policy.) Please. Some of us have to do this for the next 16 months.

Most importantly, there’s still time to establish that in 2019, moderators have some control over a televised political debate. The friendly vibes that prevailed at this debate aren’t going to last for the rest of the primary season, and by the time things get really ugly, you’ll be wishing the moderators could instill some order. And, a little over a year from now, when the Democratic nominee takes the stage to debate president Donald Trump in what will undoubtedly be a truly distressing moment in the great American conversation, you’ll be praying for someone, anyone, to hit mute.

Tim Fernholz
Reporter
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