Chris Wallace’s goal to be little more than a “timekeeper” in tonight’s debate is, like so much that Fox News does, a gift to Donald Trump in the guise of fairness and balance
On the last Fox News Sunday, Wallace doubled down on his previous promise not to do any fact checking during the debate:
WALLACE: If I think there’s a need for me to intervene, I will, but I would prefer not to. And basically, you’re there as a timekeeper, but you’re not a participant. You’re there just to make sure that they engage in the most interesting and fairest way possible.
I wrote a recent post for Liberal America explaining Wallace's strategem is faux neutrality:
That’s obviously a help to Trump who seems to use lying as a campaign strategy.
Yes, Wallace has been tough on Republicans, including Trump. But Trump’s unhinged behavior at the last debate proves that robust moderation is needed. As Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert pointed out, previous debate moderator Anderson Cooper had an important effect on the campaign:
“Notably, it is only because of Cooper’s dogged questioning over the video of Trump bragging about commiting [sic] sexual assault that he was put on record denying he had ever committed that crime. Women have cited that public denial in coming forward to tell their stories about Trump this week.
Against the background of Trump’s rampant prevarications, Wallace is going to sit in the moderator’s chair and refuse to fact-check Trump. And Trump knows it.”
One reason Wallace might be so reticent is that his position as moderator (quite possibly thanks to Trump’s bullying) is loaded with conflicts of interest.
You can read the rest of my post at Liberal America.
Watch Fox’s preview of Wallace’s debate moderation from the October 16, 2016 Fox News Sunday, below.
And do check back here tonight. We’ll live stream the debate with an open thread for everyone to share their thoughts about what will surely be a memorable night.
Little Chrissie’s questions to Hillary will be focused almost exclusively on emails, Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton’s relations with women and the golden oldie Benghazi. A partisan hack job reminiscent of the job Little Chrissie did on Bill Clinton.
At the debate’s end, Democrats will howl with indignation and GOPiggies will rejoice in the Fux Noise version of fair and balanced. Long term, the Presidential debate commission will not again have the discretion to choose any moderator without approval of the candidates.