At the beginning of the month, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the list of moderators for the upcoming televised battles between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There was always going to be a certain amount of grousing over who was selected or, in many more cases, who wasn’t picked. While the final roster is hardly without controversy for both sides, one name in particular stuck out to David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America and frequent script writer for Rachel Maddow. That was Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
So disgruntled was Brock that he issued a demand to the commission, declaring that Wallace must be removed because of his previous professional relationship with Roger Ailes. (Politico)
Media Matters founder David Brock is demanding that the Commission on Presidential Debates remove Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as moderator of the final presidential debate in October.
Brock, a staunch ally of Hillary Clinton who also founded pro-Clinton Super PACs Correct the Record and American Bridge 21st Century, argues that Wallace has a conflict of interest because of his relationship to former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Ailes is reportedly informally advising Donald Trump and helping him prepare for the debates.
For their part, the commission responded with a single paragraph essentially brushing Brock aside.
The Commission on Presidential Debates wrote in response to Brock’s letter with a one line response, saying simply they were “pleased” with their selection of moderators and “confident they will do a good job.”
This entire fight took on a circus-like atmosphere almost immediately. The idea that someone like Brock could submit a protest about media bias in the election would make Don King complaining about a rigged boxing match look tame by comparison. The guy founded an organization which feeds a constant stream of biased hackery to liberal media outlets on an hourly basis and he organized multiple fundraising organizations for both Obama and Hillary Clinton. Before one can make such a complaint they should really establish some standing for their supposed outrage.
That’s not to say that there aren’t issues with the list of moderators, but Wallace is hardly the problem. He’s pretty much standing alone in a field with Lester Holt, Elaine Quijano, Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper. That’s not exactly a hall of fame in terms of unbiased coverage and Trump will find no friends among them. (Raddatz actually had Barack Obama as a guest at her wedding.) And where are the more conservative journalists on this list aside from Wallace? Where’s Hugh Hewitt? And if they really wanted to show some semblance of impartiality, why not put in Jake Tapper? At least everyone from both parties hates him.
Still, the commission had to make some choices and it seems that they have. It’s at least somewhat comforting to learn that David Brock can’t bully his way into dictating the final list of hosts for these shindigs.