At last night's Presidential Debate, broadcast on Fox News and co-sponsored by Google, the hosts played a YouTube question from Stephen Hill, an active-duty soldier in Iraq who, up until this week, said he had to "lie about who [he] was" in order to serve in the army. His video was audibly booed by the audience. Hill did not direct his question at any particular candidate, but debate host Megyn Kelly asked it of former Senator Rick Santorum. However, given the audience's shameful disrespect of that soldier, Kelly missed an opportunity by not asking all of the candidates the most logical follow-up question.
That question, of course, is "Do you agree with the audience members who just booed that soldier?"
However, the hosts and candidates weren't the only ones who ignored this disrespect. Much of the mainstream media coverage of the debate has ignored it too. USA Today's main story about the debate does not mention the incident, neither do the main debate stories from the New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times, or many other outlets.
Talking Points Memo DID speak about the booing with representatives for the candidates in the post-debate "spin room."
Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) was among those spinning reporters for Rick Perry after the debate. TPM asked him what he thought of a hometown crowd booing a soldier serving overseas.
“That was very unfortunate,” he said. “I wish that one of the candidates, any of them, would have highlighted how disrespectful it was for anyone in the audience to boo someone who who’s risking their life for our country.”
It was pointed out to Gaetz that his candidate, Perry, stood silent along with the others on stage after the boos.
“I think that a lot of the candidates were caught up in the moment,” he told TPM. “That was a very unfortunate moment in the debate.”
While the media is right to focus on the candidates, we think it is fairly important to note the fact that none of the men and women on that stage felt the need to stand up for this man who is risking his life for the country these candidates want to lead. You can send a message of support to Stephen and the other men and women who can now finally serve their country openly and proudly by clicking here.