Yesterday, Fox News host Chris Wallace emphatically announced that he thinks it will be Hillary Clinton’s job to promote truth during the presidential debate he will moderate.
Appearing on MediaBuzz yesterday, Wallace told host Howard Kurtz that he views his role as moderator “as kind of being a referee in a heavyweight championship fight.” That is, the kind of referee who would leave it up to the fighters to call fouls, apparently.
From Media Matters’ transcript of the discussion (with my emphases):
WALLACE: I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It’s up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly am going to try to maintain some reasonable semblance of equal time. If one of them is filibustering, I’m going to try to break in respectfully and give the other person a chance to talk. But I want it to be about them—I want it to be as much of a debate, people often talk that it’s simultaneous news conferences.
I suspect I’m not going to have any problem getting them to engage with each other, but I don’t view my role as truth squading and I think that is a step too far. If people want to do it after the debate, fine, it’s not my role.
Wallace all but gave Donald Trump a green light to lie, dissemble and distort as much as he wants. Given Trump’s YUUGE record in that department (and Hillary Clinton’s fidelity to the truth), that’s a nice gift to Trump.
I’ve previously written about why it’s concerning that Wallace was chosen to moderate a debate. This is one more reason and it’s a big one.
Watch Wallace boast about relinquishing any responsibility for truth, below, from the August 4 MediaBuzz, via Media Matters.
How else can anyone explain the constant, continuing nagging about Hillary’s email business (way less worrying than Romney’s, Huckleberry’s and the Dubya Gang’s), Huma’s non-connections, the clean-as-a-whistle foundation and her health non-worries?
This while keeping quiet as churchmice about Trump being in bed with the Kremlin, covering up his taxes, blatantly bribing Bondi and the Texas guy to pervert the course of justice and Christie to forgive his taxes, his many mafia and drug-runner connections, his gutting of his casinos’ money-bins before leaving them to wither and die, the rape case(s), the stiffed contractors, the fraudulent ‘University’ and property developments…
For Christ’s sake, America. You CANNOT allow this despicable being (I won’t dignify him with ‘human’) to continue living above the law, much less let him become King of the World.
If anything, I would fault the Obama Admin for being too naïve to understand that these people really did want to obliterate them. The Clinton people won’t be taken in so easily.
Ever so conveniently forgetting that the Bush cabinet actually did “out” a CIA agent called Valerie Plame because her husband was too honest/professional to lie when he failed to find any evidence that Niger was producing yellow cake for Saddam. While the Republicans and Fox keep on harping on something that might have happened – but didn’t !!! , they’re not saying anything about the fact that the Bush administration should be investigated for an actual breach of security that destroyed a whole network of informants that the CIA had carefully built. I guess that network was expendable because it had not found evidence that Saddam Hussain actually had WMD’s.
That said, I do realize that he doesn’t get the floor until the final debate, by which point the situation will hopefully be over. The key debate is the first one – and Wallace won’t get his shot to mess things up for another month afterwards.
Of course — why would he? He’s on Fox . . .
It’s the first hint at how Chris is going to put his thumb on the debate scales without overtly looking partisan to the millions of relatively unengaged voters tuned in.
Conventional wisdom is Trump needs a homerun to move the needle if things remain pretty much as they are. Yes, a big assumption. Will Wilileaks dump their promised “October surprise” and rattled the world? If so, Wallace has an opening to exploit. Will narcissist Trump own up to the fact he’s not smart enough to wing it and, out of desperation, prepare some well designed mud to throw? Doubtful he never did in the primaries but there he kept winning because Republicans lapped up his outrageousness.
The big problem for Trump is he can’t stick to a mainstream pivot outside of his base. I don’t think it’s enough for Wallace to try to embarrass Hillary while propping up The Donald. Look at all the Trump surrogates putting lipstick on the pig. Yet even 30% of Republicans polled think he’s a bigot.
It’s a bit late for another insincere and half-hearted Trump try to redefine himself. But it’s probably his only hope short of an October surprise.
Grew up on 60 Minutes.