After this week’s debate debacle, people are wondering if something can be done to make debates more informative. They’re wondering that because CNBC’s moderators weren’t interested in asking questions that informed the public about the candidates. After watching CNN’s Jake Tapper and CNBC’s moderators ask one gotcha question after another from a biased lefty perspective, it’s a fair question to ask whether conservatives can get a moderator who isn’t decided lefty.
While this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, a look at the moderators for the Commission on Presidential Debates for 2004, 2008 and 2012 is highly instructive.
- In 2004, the CPD moderators were Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schieffer of CBS and Charlie Gibson of ABC while Gwen Ifill of PBS moderated the Vice Presidential debate.
- In 2008, the CPD moderators were Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schieffer of CBS and Tom Brokaw of NBC while PBS’s Gwen Ifill moderated the Vice Presidential debate.
- In 2012, the CPD moderators were Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schieffer of CBS and Candy Crowley of CNN while Martha Raddatz of ABC moderated the Vice Presidential debate.
If you haven’t detected a pattern yet, here’s hoping you don’t drive. Of the 12 moderators, none has had a thought from a conservative standpoint. Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that none had ever voted for a Republican in their lifetime.
If the CPD rotated conservatives into the role of moderators, imagine how liberal heads would explode if they were asked insightful questions from people like Bret Baier and Chris Wallace or talk radio hosts like Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager or conservative commentators like Ed Morrissey, Mary Katherine Ham. Glenn Reynolds and Guy Benson.
These moderators-in-waiting would be outstanding, partially because they aren’t bomb-throwers, partially because they’re used to asking questions that are intended to extract substantive responses. These potential moderators don’t live inside the DC Beltway, meaning they’d have important insight into the questions that people living outside the surreal world of DC are asking.
After watching the Crowley disaster in 2012, isn’t it time we brought in moderators who actually have done their homework? After seeing Ms. Ifill’s antisemitic tweet, why should Republicans think that the CPD moderators will give them a fair shake?
It’s time to rotate some fresh blood into the debates. That won’t happen if we keep seeing the same out-of-touch liberal moderators cycle after cycle. It’s time to rotate in some conservatives or, at minimum, some moderators that are within walking distance of political mainstream.