For the first time (to my knowledge) in the history of presidential debates, a presidential candidate has been challenged with a tweet. CBS just pulled a tweet hitting Hillary Clinton for implying a connection between donations she received from Wall Street and the work she did to rebuild New York City post-9/11 as a senator, and asked her to respond. (She said that the tweeter’s interpretation of her remarks was wrong.)
There are a lot of reasons why this is good: Twitter blew up after Clinton’s remark, and it was not only good that she was challenged, but good that CBS was bringing in the lively discussion that’s happening online to the debate itself. These debates often become an echo chamber and breaking that up should be applauded.
However, what kind of precedent does this set? Mic is currently streaming some of the hottest tweets alongside the debate itself, and most of them are much, much worse than John Dickerson’s questions (though still better than Neil Cavuto’s). More importantly, will our debates turn into presidential candidates answering questions from @_benghaziguy_ (#tcot, of course) like “Don’t the Paris attacks REALLY prove that the campus protests are GARBAGE???.” This is a slippery slope!