The first Republican presidential debate on the FOX News network a week ago was indicative of many things. 

First and foremost, even the paragon FOX News can have an agenda. Next, some commentators acquiesce to such agenda. Further, when it comes to the transparency and expected fairness of a national level debate, sometimes a candidate can be targeted, and abusively so. 

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It’s time the media muster the courage to get past sensationalism for ratings' sake, and instead, neutrally highlight and dissect the platforms of the candidates so the American voter is educated and informed, not entertained. 

FOX’s Megyn Kelly is part of the problem. 

Kelly’s question of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE regarding comments made about women in his past, intended to generate a plume of reactions and diatribes across the country, was irresponsible. 

Her question and its intent illustrate a thinking error. We believe a presidential candidate’s opinion on policies far exceeds a salacious stab to incite reaction. Kelly’s question, in concert with Trump the clear bulls eye for FOX News’s mischief, was anything but fair and balanced. 

As elected policymakers at the state level, we’ve suffered our own profiling and bias in local media. Women are exposed to this daily. We expect better but are routinely disappointed because it’s still a man’s world. 

That written, the good news is we’re tough, can handle inequity on coverage or content, and it’s obvious Donald Trump is too. Grit and tenacity rule the day for female legislators serving in office in Alaska. The same could be said for our colleagues across the state. For that matter, women throughout our nation are showing the courage and determination to be heard, make a difference, and lead purpose-driven lives, from the stay-at-home single mom to the CEO. 

The question posed by Megyn Kelly set us back a bit. It was insulting to us, and on behalf of women we know and communicate with who viewed the debate, to them as well. 

The first debate, and what is the launch of an extremely important and vital dialogue on who should be the next Republican president nominee, was muffled by a nonsensical question. This was a huge evening for the United States, and the world, as the opportunity lay in the lap of FOX News commentators to magnify the top tier candidates’ agendas. 

Where was a question about crime and punishment, or comprehensive economic policies? What about foreign diplomacy, transparency in government, or tangible steps to enhance our failing education system? 

In Alaska, President Obama is finally visiting after seven years in office, along with Secretary Kerry, at the end of August. Instead of a query on natural resource development, Arctic policy, military and veteran affairs, or the plethora of prudent and thoughtful subject matter to help inform the electorate, Rosie O’Donnell became the center of attention thanks to Megyn Kelly.

Kelly can do better in her next moderation. At least we hope so. Her persona and hubris during the debate when it came to Donald Trump, and particularly in the last week after the debate, are unbecoming. 

As for Donald Trump, at this milepost he’s the frontrunner and deservedly so in that he speaks with candor, clarity, and doesn’t shirk from any issue or question. These are the rudiments and essential in an effective leader. Just ask fans of President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Winston Churchill or Alaska's very own U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R). 

Donald Trump actually sounds quite Alaskan: tough as nails, thick skin, and thinks big, like our state. 

We encourage the media in prospective debates to be cogent, pertinent and genuine with interrogatories of candidates. America’s time is precious, and aside from the special effects and remarkable technology layered throughout the FOX News debate, the content and substance lacked. Megyn Kelly helped squander this coveted window of opportunity, to get details on what matters, with her lurid question. 

At the end of the day, the 24 million viewers missed out on hearing assiduous, intelligent questions, and instead suffered entertainment. 

What voters didn’t miss is the fact Donald Trump matters, particularly as the presidential Republican frontrunner. Conversely, based on her wasteful question, Megyn Kelly lost credibility. 

We expect and deserve better from journalists and hosts who are afforded this serious responsibility to educate the electorate. Women, in particular, care about tangible, tested plans for improving our nation, not sound bites and fodder that distract and make the networks more money. 

We look forward to future presidential debates of substance and remind everyone to learn about the candidates and keep informed, and vote!

McGuire has served in the Alaska State Senate since 2007. She is chair of the Judiciary Committee. Millett has been a member of the Alaska House of Representatives since 2009 and is currently the majority leader.