Is CNN shielding Hillary and the Democrats with debate format?

There was more than a little buzz on Left side Twitter this weekend about tomorrow night’s Democrat debate and it turns out that progressives seem to have just as many complaints about the structure of the event as conservatives did about ours. Two of the chief questions which seem to cry out for answers among liberals involve the moderators. Not only are they questioning who is on the team, but also who isn’t. Focusing on the former, Melissah Yang at Bustle has cast a rather jaundiced eye at the selection of Anderson Cooper as the ringmaster and wonders why they would pass on using Jake Tapper.

In September, CNN announced Anderson Cooper would be the lead moderator of Tuesday’s Democratic debate, backed by a peanut gallery of pundits that included Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and CNN Español’s Juan Carlos Lopez. Noticeably absent from the lineup though was The Lead’s Jake Tapper. CNN’s decision to pass over Tapper for hosting the Democratic debate was surprising, especially since the anchor is actually the network’s go-to political expert…

Perhaps CNN just wanted to switch things up. After all, Tapper is fresh off of moderating last month’s second GOP debate, and maybe Cooper, who has long been the silver fox of CNN, is the solution to make the network’s voice in the election conversation feel new. My bet, though, is CNN is hoping that Cooper has the charisma to rake in another ratings win.

Why CNN would put anyone besides Tapper in the big chair when they’ve got him in the stable is something of a mystery. He’s been their go to guy for political coverage since they stole him away from ABC News and he garners more respect from all across the political spectrum than anyone else they’ve got on staff. But with all due respect to Ms. Yang, those ratings weren’t because of Jake’s handsome face. That was the Trump Show, first last and always. As for Cooper, I’m not terribly familiar with him since I don’t watch the network in the evening when he’s on. I mostly know him from his New Years Eve shows which he co-hosts with Kathy “where my gays at” Griffin.

But come to think of it, that pairing may have at least something to do with the choice. During the GOP debates a significant amount of time was spent testing the candidates as to how they would handle various threats to the United States, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. But with the Democrats on stage, their base is going to want to hear about the real threats to America, such as rich people, the police and bakery owners who don’t make gay wedding cakes. Cooper is probably the most high profile “out” news anchor in the business, so does that choice indicate that they feel he’ll focus more on the issues burning in the hearts of the Social Justice Warriors?

The second question, as noted at the top, involved who was notably absent among the moderators. As Tom Tillison at Bizpac Review notes, the GOP show had Hugh Hewitt to “drag the conversation to the right.” But progressives are left without their own stalwart from the liberal side to fill that role.

The makeup of CNN’s Democratic presidential debate set to air on Tuesday is missing a subtle detail that was present during last month’s Republican presidential debate aired by the network.

The left’s equivalent of staunch conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The fact that CNN might be stacking the deck in favor of the Democratic Party is not breaking news — the irony here is that far-left zealots are complaining about it.

You see, they want a hard-nose progressive panelist on hand to push the issues they consider important.

Not being quite as familiar with that side of the aisle I’m not an expert on who precisely they were hoping to see in this role. Who do progressives look up to in television or radio journalism these days? (Well, since the death of Air America I’m not sure if they have anything beyond NPR on the radio.) Would they support trotting out Carol Costello or Sally Kohn to pitch some questions? You know the base is going to want to hear plenty about LGBT issues, Black Lives Matter and how to give hedge fund managers a severe trip to the barber shop. Who will beat up the candidates over being insufficiently socialist?

But maybe that’s the point when all is said and done. CNN could be signaling that they don’t want to make things too hard on Hillary Clinton by having a moderator who pipes up and starts asking why she’s not as far left as Bernie. That might be bad for business in the long run. But either way, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt until we actually see the debate. It may all be much ado over nothing, but the moderators deserve at least as much scrutiny as the hosts of the two Republican debates received.