Monday, March 17, 2008

A Strong, Impartial Moderator Is A Must

There has been quite a stir in the blogosphere about the recent Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club forum on immigration policy. It has been the subject of a life of Jason podcast, a couple of blogs on Desdinova, a blog posting and comments on Ozark Messenger, a new blog on get rid of jericho, and an opinion piece by George Freeman in Sunday's SN-L.

(If you read blogs, you know how to get to the above mentioned places. The links are on the sidebar of this blog.)

What were the leaders of the Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club thinking? Vincent David Jericho? Tony Messenger? Those two have a history going way back. Putting them together on a forum was an invitation for a fire fight, or perhaps ball fight would be a better term to use. Cojanes or not, this forum was doomed by lack of planning and foresight from the git go.

And Yolanda Lorge....why do I get the feeling she was sucker punched in this discussion? She had everything to lose and nothing to gain by partaking in the forum. She shoulda followed the lead of Michael Ramon and bowed out of the discussion and let Jericho and Messenger duke it out. Lorge has too much class to let herself be dragged down by those two.

Steve Helms, dang Steve, yet another disappointment. Moderators are generally assumed to be impartial. Every high school debater knows the rule of the impartial moderator. A strong nonpartisan moderator is a must. The moderator asks a question, and then the panelists discuss the issue. It is imperative to have a strong moderator to control panelists who try to dominate the discussion.

Remember Steve's visit with David Catanese? How's this for impartiality?

He is most detailed on the immigration issue, calling the illegal flow into our country "unacceptable." He writes that he wants to bring illegal immigration back to a "manageable level." How? He talks about new laws that "encourage" law abiding people to come and discourage lawlessness. That seems vague. But Helms does call for the state to adopt a verification program that many employers use to screen for illegals before hiring them. He says a similar verification system could be used to screen immigrants before they get a driver's license, bank account or enroll in a public school.
LifeofJason makes this note in his blog post that is important: For the record, Steve Helms was NOT the moderator at the event and he was not in a position to control what had happened at the time. I agree with part of that statement. Helms was NOT the moderator. But, as president of the club he was in a position to control what happened at the time. He should have exhibited some leadership qualities, stepped up and restored decorum to the forum. But I don't think he knew how to do that. Or he was too intimidated by Jericho. And I will continue to hammer on him for those reasons.

George Freeman's right, Steve. As president of the Springfield Metropolitan Republican Club, you owe the panelists and the public an apology. If this forum and the lack of leadership shown during the proceedings are any indication of how you are running the circuit clerk's office, the citizens of Greene County deserve better than they are getting.

And Steve, what you did to Jeremy D. Young was inexcusable. He is a bright young man who didn't deserve the treatment he received in your comments.

And now, these oldies but goodies: Show Me The Money! My main man, Fred. When the planets are "lined up right". It ain't never going to go away, look out, here it comes again, watch it now, it's back. Elephants never forget either.

Next April, The Metro Board is sponsoring a forum on the topic of education and vouchers. Remember the rule.


admin said...

What did Steve Helms do to Jeremy D? I missed that one.

Jackie Melton said...

To be honest I didn't see where the meeting got out of control at all and I didn't see where Vince took over the meeting. As far as I'm concerned that simply isn't true and the moderator, who ever the heck he was doesn't owe anybody an apology.

Each panelist was given time to make opening statements at the beginning of the meeting. They each took the time THEY wanted to speak. Then, questions from the audience were asked of different panelists by the moderator and each panelist was given an opportunity to speak unless the question was directed at a specific panelist, and even then, the others were given an opportunity to speak. That the meeting was out of control and that somehow Vince took control of it is a misnomer if not an outright lie.

I haven't listened to Jason's recording. I didn't have to, I was there for the immigration panel discussion myself. The crowd, as crowds are wont to do at times, reacted to some of what different panelists said. Sometimes applauding sometimes quietly muttering but there wasn't any disrespect in that room toward Tony or Lorge, the crowd, nor the meeting was out of control.

Jackie Melton said...

"there wasn't any disrespect in that room toward Tony or Lorge"

For clarification of the above statement, visit Life of Jason.

Thanks, Jim!