Debate moderators selected; it could be worse

We now know who will moderate the three scheduled presidential debates. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the first one, on September 29. Steve Scully of C-SPAN will moderate the second, on October 15. Kristen Welker of NBC News will moderate the third, on October 22.

There will be one vice presidential debate. It will take place on October 7, with Susan Page of USA Today as the moderator.

Wallace, we know, will be tough on both candidates. I don’t think either one can expect to gain an edge by virtue of his presence.

Scully, to my knowledge, doesn’t have a track record moderating debates or questioning candidates for office in intense settings. However, his work on C-SPAN seems fair. I believe I appeared with him years ago (clearly he has come up in the world), and if I’m thinking of the right guy, he played it straight.

The mere fact that he’s not with a liberal network — ABC, CBS, CNN, or NBC — seems like a win for the Trump campaign. But we’ll see.

Welker of NBC is part of the braying, Trump-hating White House press corps. From what I can tell, she’s not high on the list of serious offenders. However, there’s good reason to doubt her impartiality. Her claim that Kamala Harris, arguably the Senate’s most liberal member, cultivated a moderate image should have been enough to disqualify her.

Welker is African-American. There was always going to be one African-American moderator and he/she was always going to be pro-Democrat. That’s the cost of doing business these days.

Page of USA Today also comes across as pro-Democrat. For example, she defended shoddy New York Times reporting during the controversy over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

As far as I can tell, then, the lineup of moderators consists of two who are pro-Democrat and two who seem down the middle. And for the presidential debates, straight shooters make up the majority.

It’s not a fair lineup, but it could be worse.

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