Tuesday night’s second presidential debate is proving to be one of the most anticipated in decades. After Mitt Romney’s stellar performance and President Obama’s disastrous performance in the first one, tensions are high as Obama supporters wait with bated breath to see their hope for a big Obama comeback come to fruition, while Romney supporters are praying for their guys ability to repeat his domination of the debate. Meanwhile those independent and undecided voters who are not in one camp or the other are looking forward to seeing how both men do so that they can make an informed decision regarding which of the two candidates they believe deserves to be President for the next years.
Left to their own devices, both President Obama and Governor Romney should be able to make their cases and the voters paying attention to the debate should be able to determine who made the best case. But as the second debate approaches, its moderator, CNN correspondent Candy Crowley informs us that she intends to take the town hall style debate in the direction she wants it to go in.
According to Crowley;
“Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?’”
Well I am glad to know that Crowley thinks she knows her A,B,C’s but FYI Candy… you’re not on the ballot, so we don’t care what you know, what you think you know, or what your alleged unbiased opinion is!
A good journalist is said to be one who never makes themselves a part of the news and when it comes to moderators, a good one does not become too big a part of the debate, they merely ensure that the debate keeps flowing. Well as an anchor on CNN , Candy Crowley hardly ever reports a political story without interjecting her own mainstream media, liberal biases in to them. Now she makes a statement that indicates to me that she will interject her liberal biases in to the presidential debate.
Crowley’s remark may initially sound innocent to some. For some it may even sound responsible and sensible. It suggests that she intends to hold the candidates accountable for their answers without allowing them to avoid full explanations. But those who see it this way are missing the point of what a moderators job is and the purpose of a debate.
Part of any good debaters job is to hold the person they are facing off with accountable for their answers. It is up to President Obama and Governor Romney to deftly find a way to say to each other, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?”. Not Crowley.
In most debates there is a moderator and either several prepared questions or a group of panelists who ask the questions. The moderator simply manages time and enforces any of the rules agreed to by the debate’s participants. In this second presidential debate, we have a town hall style forum where voters in the audience are suppose to ask the questions. So the way I see it, as the moderator, Candy Crowley should not be asking anything. And for good reason.
None of us have any reason to hear Crowley or any talking head interject their political biases in to any debate. That means I do not need for her to try to press Mitt Romney to give additional details in a particular answer that she disagrees with, but not press President Obama for further details on an answer he gives and which she agrees with.
Part of the success of the first 2012 presidential debate was due to the fact that its moderator, Jim Lehrer, for the most part, allowed the candidates to be the ones to ask each other “Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?” The fact that Lehrer did not interjecthis own judgment calls into the first debate allowed it to be defined by the two candidates for President, not the moderator who is not on the ballot. Candy Crowley would be wise to follow Leher’s example and for the first time in her career, try to be a good journalist by interjecting herself into the story as little as possible, and by being a good moderator that is seen but not often heard.
In other words, Candy… shut your trap and let the audience ask the questions and allow the candidates to answer them and hold each other accountable to their answers.
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