Chris Wallace said lies, half-truths, and rehearsed talking points will not be called out when he moderates the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump next month.
Presidential debates are events that the American public and quite frankly the world look forward to. Some find them very entertaining, while others, who are undecided watch them to learn more about the candidates to make up their minds.
This year, the debates took a life of their own and made headlines because Mr. Trump had appeared uncertain that he would take part in any of them. He did eventually confirm his appearance saying that only a natural disaster would stop him from going face-to-face with Clinton. He said on Monday during an appearance on MSNBC:
“I hadn’t planned on it. I never did it before, only a natural disaster. Um, hurricanes, natural disaster. No, I expect to do all three. Obviously I did well in the debates. Obviously according to the polls. The online polls they did right after the debates. And I think I’m doing the same thing.”
There is much speculation that third-party candidate Gary Johnson might make it to the debate stage. The Libertarian is polling in the double digits and needs be around 15 percent to get an invitation from the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The forthcoming debates are once again in the news after the host of Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace stated that he has no plans to fact-check Clinton or Trump.
Wallace, a three-time Emmy Awards winner for his journalistic work, sat down with Howard Kurtz, the host of Fox News Channel’s Media Buzz program, where he talked about the difficulties of being a moderator.
The former moderator of Meet the Press said unlike other moderators his goal is to stay in the shadow and let the attention be on the candidates. He stated:
“It isn’t coming up with a killer question, not coming up with the great follow-up I see myself as a conduit to ask the questions and basically to get the two candidates, or as I say, if one of the other people is on the stage as well, one of the third party candidates, but to get the candidates to engage. I view it as being a referee in a heavyweight championship fight. If it — if it succeeds when it’s over, people will say, you did a great job. I don’t even remember you ever even being on the stage.”
Later in the interview, Wallace said he was not part of a truth squad. It appears that he will take the opposite approach of former CNN journalist Candy Crowley, who in 2012, corrected Mitt Romney when he said that President Obama had not used the term “act of terror” during remarks at the White House the day after the Benghazi attack. Wallace said:
“That’s not my job. I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It’s up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly am going to try to maintain some reasonable semblance of equal time. If one of them is filibustering, I’m going to try to break in respectfully and give the other person a chance to talk. But I want it to be about them — I want it to be as much of a debate, people often talk that it’s simultaneous news conferences.”
Wallace said there should be a real exchange between the politicians and added that even if he knows what they are saying are lies, he will not correct the record. He explained:
“Frankly… these two just plain don’t like each other. I suspect I’m not going to have any problem getting them to engage with each other, but I don’t view my role as truth-squading and I think that is a step too far. If people want to do it after the debate, fine, it’s not my role.”
The first presidential debate will be held on Monday, September 26, with Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News as moderator.
The second debate will be on Sunday, October 9, and Martha Raddatz, the co-anchor of This Week on ABC, will serve as moderator along with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, the third presidential debate will be held with moderator Wallace. Some Democrats are hoping to launch a petition to remove Wallace because they believe that he will side mainly with Trump. However, some Republicans believe he might be biased against Trump because Wallace had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades.