Reaction to this week’s presidential debate has been mixed – with supporters of Democrat Barack Obama saying he won … and backers of Republican John McCain claiming he was the winner. But, did the American public win?

University of Missouri Communication Professor Bill Benoit believes the debate lacked what he calls the clash of ideas on the issues that is so important to the political process. He adds having questions from the public filtered through a moderator – as was the case in Tuesday’s debate – does not necessarily serve the public well.

Benoit says town hall debates used to give citizens the opportunity to ask questions – and they do – but the topics and content of the questions are chosen by the moderator.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)