Presidential debate moderators announced, not the usual choices

Presidential debate moderators announced, not the usual choices

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the names of moderators for the three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate. Surprisingly enough, it looks like a pretty good list. That doesn’t mean any of them are conservatives but at least they aren’t unhinged leftists. We can hope for at least a small measure of professionalism from these journalists.

The journalists come from Fox News, C-SPAN, and NBC. The best news is that for the first time since 2008, CNN has been shut out. We can all rejoice about that. The list isn’t perfect but it’s the best that conservatives can hope for in 2020. It’s probably safe to say they are all Biden voters but it is what it is.

Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, who has angered some Republicans for his pointed questioning of Trump and White House officials, will moderate the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29.

The second, town-hall style, debate, which will be town-hall style, will be moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully in Miami on Oct. 15.

The third and final presidential debate will be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC and will take place in Nashville on Oct. 22.

There will be one vice presidential debate between Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), which will be moderated by USA Today’s Susan Page and will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I like that each debate only has one moderator. That will make the flow of the debate go smoother without journalists trying to top their colleagues’ questions. Did I mention how wonderful it is that CNN isn’t involved this year? I would have preferred someone like Melissa Francis or Sandra Smith or even Martha MacCallum over Chris Wallace but seniority has its privileges. It is interesting to note that Wallace has interviewed President Trump for his Sunday morning show on Fox but Team Biden has turned down Wallace’s weekly invitations to come on his show. So, Wallace will finally get his chance to ask him questions. The commission specifically addressed professionalism.

“We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates,” the commission said in a statement. “Each individual brings great professionalism to moderating and understands that the purpose of the 2020 debate formats is to facilitate in-depth discussion of major topics.”

We’ll see. Every four years conservatives criticize the liberal leanings of those chosen to moderate the presidential debates. Yet, with over 90% of journalists admitting to being Democrat voters, the pool of more fair and balanced journalists is limited. Are we even sure that Sleepy Joe will show up for the first debate, much less all three of them? He won’t have the luxury of Dr. Jill sitting at his side giving him signals as to what he should say, keeping him focused.

The Trump campaign wanted the first debate to happen earlier than at the end of September because early voting is just about to begin in some states. Here in Texas, we are only six weeks out from early voting. Team Trump also wanted four debates. The Biden campaign never even entertained that proposal.

So, no Anderson Cooper or Candy Crowley, or even someone like the late Gwen Ifill, who are/were clearly liberal partisans during presidential debates. That’s a baby step in the right direction for those of us demanding more fair and balanced moderators. Susan Page is a print journalist but also a frequent panelist on Fox News Channel’s Special Edition with Bret Baier, as well as on other networks. She’ll fangirl Kamala during the vice-presidential debate. I’m sure Mike Pence will be prepared. Kristen Welker will be the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate.

Correction: Carol Simpson is still alive; she got mixed up with the late Gwen Ifill. It has now been corrected.

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