After watching Chris Wallace struggle to play an unbiased and deliberate moderator in Tuesday’s debate, many Americans were left wondering how moderators will maintain control of the conversation going forward.
Issues over impartiality appear to have gone completely ignored, and the group that organizes the debates now appears to be arming moderators with a nuclear option.
According to CBS News, the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to give future moderators the power to cut the microphone of either candidate if they don’t follow the rules.
Steve Scully, the C-SPAN editor who is hosting the upcoming Oct. 15 debate, will seemingly be the first with the power.
The move comes after a chaotic first debate where both candidates interrupted and shouted over each other. The CPD originally announced that changes would be made shortly after the candidates’ confrontation aired.
Near-constant interruptions are a central issue the commission is working to fix with these measures.
This is the first peek at what measures the group is considering.
The commission’s changes were blasted by Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for President Trump’s 2020 campaign.
“They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night,” Murtaugh said.
“President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”
The new power raises some serious questions about the impact of future moderators’ biases.
Even Wallace, a Fox News anchor, was criticized by his colleagues for the hostile treatment he gave Trump.
Scully is no Wallace, however.
While in college, Scully interned under then-Senator Joe Biden. There’s no indication that the future moderator has spent any substantial time with President Trump.
Now, he will play a critical part in the elections.
Can America trust the C-SPAN editor to wield such a powerful tool responsibly and fairly? If Wallace had trouble keeping an impartial discussion moving, how can we trust the task to a former Biden intern?
For now, it looks like that decision is out of the hands of the American people.
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