Debate Moderators: America’s Defense Attorney Part I

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Presidential debates over the last few election cycles have become frustrating to watch as Americans. Lying seems to have become the norm not just on the campaign trail, but in the debates as well. It has progressed this way so to our detriment, that the candidates do not have a firm grasp on the issues. Instead they rely on lies and the campaign rhetoric that they have been touting throughout the election. Whether it’s Donald Trump making the case for the United States to leave NATO, or Hillary Clinton’s email debacle, or even Gary Johnson’s lack of awareness of the situation in Syria, the civil war that has dominated the foreign policy of the United States for the last five years. Why has this shift been allowed to continue?

The news outlets for one. The creation of the 24hr news cycle has dramatically altered the type of information we receive. The sensationalism in the news of the day that the 24hr news cycles thrives on sometimes is not available during the day. So in order to bring viewers in and increase ratings, news outlets often hype up things in the news or give misrepresentations. This tends to lead to an ill-informed population and a news media whose first goal is to increase ratings, and not to hold candidates accountable.

This takes us to today’s presidential debates where candidates can say whatever concoction of words and campaign phrases they have prepared. It once again will be a televised spectacle of talking points, and not a general forum of ideas and honest positions.

The Professional’s Opinion

A few different members of the media have talked about their take on the presidential debate.

Recently Chris Wallace from Fox News was asked whether he saw his job as a debate moderator was to interject when candidates started to veer from the facts. According to Mr. Wallace the debate moderator’s job, is not to be a “truth squad, it’s up to the other person to catch them on that.” He stated that the other candidates were responsible for providing

Bob Schieffer in a recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post, had a similar sentiment with a small difference. He said that “If neither candidate catches the inaccuracy, then the moderator must step in, set the record straight and, if necessary, ask a question about it.”

And while this is a more effective moderator than we have in todays debates, and considerably better than Chris Wallace’s take on it, we here at cite a different model that is more aggressive.

Part II to come. 

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