Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

It took CNN almost half an hour to ask a single question at the Democratic debate

If you turned on the TV this evening expecting to watch the 2020 Democratic debate but instead found yourself sitting through an intro more suited to the Super Bowl, you aren't alone. It took CNN nearly half an hour to ask the candidates the first question of the night; by comparison, NBC News, which hosted the first two-night debate in June, asked the first question within a minute.

CNN, though, had spent eight days building its elaborate debate stage, and it appeared the network intended to milk every chance for wide-angle shots. After a minutes-long intro video setting up the stakes for the night, the candidates were invited one-by-one onto stage. There was then an elaborate presentation of colors and performance of the national anthem. Then — well, then there was a commercial break.

After 15 minutes, the candidates were at last invited to deliver their prepared opening remarks. Only ten minutes later, though, did CNN finally dive into the substance of the debate by asking a question.

Couldn't quite believe your eyes? Revisit CNN's ridiculously over-the-top intro video below. Jeva Lange