Not everyone thought the Great Debates of 1960 lived up to their billing. Here's what a few of the critics said...

"They were a puny contribution, capsuled, homogenized, perhaps dangerous in its future implication.and while the instrument [TV] was used, however superficially, the republic survived and it is hoped that lessons were learned."

Edward R. Murrow in an address to the 
Radio Executives Society  

"Let us hope that these TV debates will be eliminated from future Presidential campaigns..The present formula of TV debate is designed to corrupt the public judgement, and, eventually, the whole political process. The American Presidency is too great an office to be subjected to the indignity of this technique..On TV each candidate should have the opportunity to talk about any major issue as long as he has something to say, without outsiders putting time limits on him."

Dr. Henry Steele Commager
in the New York Times Magazine article
"Washington Would Have Lost a TV Debate"

"The face-to-face encounters, in effect, gave each candidate 150 seconds to tell how he would handle Castro, etc.-a grim and macabre Truth or Consequences."

The Reporter, from  
"Those Atrocious Television Debates