Nedra Pickler is a regular political reporter who must have gotten editor’s orders to “fact check” the debate, or at least note the usual candidate omissions. It would have been stronger (but taken longer) to get fuller quotes (including Koppel’s) to refute.
When I caught pieces of the debate (OK, sue me, ESPN2 was running an old film of the Packers “Ice Bowl” of 1967), it seemed like a tape recording of earlier debates. I felt it would be a public service for a reporter to write something like:
“This is the third time Dick Gephardt has made a joke about how Bush flunked at ‘playing well with others’…This is the fifth time Carol Moseley Braun has told the same sexist story about her mom sending her dad to the hardware store for a toilet fix and he came back with a lawn mower.” You can see where reporters get bored on the campaign trail.