Before the first presidential debate of 2020, moderator Chris Wallace had the temerity to say his goal was to be “as invisible as possible.”
“I’m trying to get them [the candidates] to engage, to focus on the key issues, to give people at home a sense of, ‘why I want to vote for one versus the other,’ ” he said on Fox News. “But if I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate. Who was the moderator?’ ”
By these standards, Wallace was the biggest loser in Tuesday’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden. He was NOT invisible — and everyone had Wallace’s name on their tongue, frequently preceded by an expletive.
I always had low expectations for Wallace as I said in my Real Clear Politics column on Monday, but Wallace failed to meet even those. This was clearly the worst debate in the history of presidential debates and maybe in the history of all debates. (Read transcript HERE.)
Part of the blame goes to the two candidates. Clearly they were disrespectful to each other and were more interested in needling each other than talking about issues.
But Wallace deserves the brunt of the blame — partly because of his presumptuous superiority and partly because of his abject bias against Trump. There were too many incidences to record them all here, but I will focus on a couple of significant ones.
When Wallace asked the president about health care he described the president’s executive order on pre-existing conditions as “largely symbolic.” That is editorializing, and was “largely” meant to spin the audience against Trump in the first place.
The president responded correctly to Wallace, “Well, first of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him, but that’s OK. I’m not surprised. Let me just tell you something. There’s nothing symbolic….”
On the other hand, Wallace was symbolic of the entire far-left Fake News Media. He clearly either is unfamiliar with the issues or he was protecting Biden. What was up with Wallace trying to dress up anti-white “critical race theory” as “racial sensitivity training”? That was despicable. Wallace exposes himself as a tool of the extremist anti-American left with that question.
He was also a tool of the Democrat Party. I asked in my earlier column whether Chris Wallace would ask Biden about his family’s corruption. He didn’t, but when Trump brought it up, Wallace protected Biden by refusing to moderate and get a straight answer.
Trump noted correctly that Biden’s son Hunter got $3 1/2 million from the wife of the deceased mayor of Moscow, and when Biden lied and said the story was “totally discredited,” Wallace let him get away with it. He should have asked who had “discredited” the story, which came from a US Senate report based on Treasury Department documents. Trump DID ask Biden, who said the story was discredited “by the media, by our allies.”
Of course the media has not discredited the report unless you mean that they covered it up by not reporting on it! And as for “our allies,” presumably Biden is talking about U.S. allies and not about Democrat cronies, but there has certainly not been any evidence provided that cleared Hunter Biden of taking millions of dollars from Russians, Chinese and Ukrainians. If Wallace had wanted the debate to explore topics for the good of the American public he would have gotten to the bottom of it instead of forcing Trump to stop asking Biden about it.
Another major instance of Wallace letting Biden off the hook came early in the debate when Biden said he would not tell voters whether he was in favor of getting rid of the Senate filibuster rule or of packing the Supreme Court with additional justices to guarantee politically favorable rulings.
“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue,” Biden said inexplicably. “The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.”
What kind of stupid answer is that? “I’m not going to answer because then people will be able to know where I stand!?!??” Why is this coward even running for President?!?
When Trump, NOT Wallace, pressed Biden for an answer, the former Vice President said explicitly, “I’m not going to answer the question.”
That would have been red meat for a real journalist, but Chris Wallace just turned his nose up at the idea of a real exchange of ideas and insisted that the debate move on to the next topic.
“We have ended the segment,” Wallace declared.
With any luck, the debate will also have ended Wallace’s career.
Sadly, because Wallace works for Fox News there was no place to turn for commentary on his abysmal performance as moderator last night. Usually, Fox would be the network to expose Fake News and media bias, but how could the network’s debate analysts expose their top celebrity journalist as a smarmy popinjay without offending their bosses?
Once again, I have to ask, “What will it take to get Chris Wallace fired?”
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