Example #23,286 of how the media continually fails us.
It was a good day for the glass ceiling when the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that two of the four moderators for the 2012 debates would be women. Sadly, I think the good news were somewhat dampened when Candy Crowley was named the first female moderator for a presidential debate. Nothing personal against Crowley; but I've seen far too many instances in my years at C&L of her letting blatant falsehoods pass unchallenged by her State of the Union guests, adopting Republican framing or leaving the big, obvious follow up question go unasked. And certainly, Crowley is mindful of her historic role, if not her actual responsibilities:
“My goals are to have a debate or conversation or whatever you want to call it between these two guys that adds to the body of knowledge that voters have,” she says. “And I want to have a debate that discusses issues of interest to the voters, so that they come away knowing more about what their choice is rather than being more confused.”
She hopes people will judge her by that standard, but says: “People are going to judge under whatever their criteria are. Sometimes, it’s a political criteria. Sometimes, it’s just, ‘Boy, she did a lousy job. She should have asked them this, that or the other thing.’”
Crowley says her situation differs from those of Lehrer and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, who moderated the vice-presidential debate. Because of the town hall format, most of the questions will be asked by undecided voters in the hall who have been selected by the Gallup Organization. Still, she will have follow-ups.
The commission members “want this to be a town hall meeting,” she says. “They want the undecided voters to get a chance to ask these candidates their questions. ... I can follow up or say, ‘They asked oranges; you answered apples. Could you, like, try to answer oranges?’ You know, sort of the enforcer kind of thing.”
What about letting the candidates ignore time limits and other rules the way Lehrer did?“What I think Jim was talking about was trying to get them to engage with each other and not with him. … When the conversation’s going, you can’t just stop it, and go, ‘Whoops, sorry, bell rang.’ It’s not school.”
And if Obama or Romney is flatout lying?
“Look, these are two grown men,” Crowley says. “And if there are two grown men who should know what’s going on — or what should go on in this country — it’s them. So, I’m not sure either one of them needs me to defend them or go after the other guy or whatever.”[..]
“Am I going to catch everything they say that is wrong?” she asks rhetorically. “No. Should I? Actually, I think, President Obama can figure out when Mitt Romney’s wrong, and Mitt Romney can figure out when Obama’s wrong.”
But, she adds, “That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. I’m just telling you it’s an organic thing. That’s the way it works on the Sunday show. ... You plan one thing, and something else happens. So, there’s not a lot of promising you can do about what’s going to happen until you see what happens.”
Ah...so if you suck as bad as Lehrer did, you can just say that it didn't feel "organic". Gotcha. Sadly, her colleagues at CNN show that they have about as much idea of what's needed in these debates as the rest of the enabling mainstream media.
Make no mistake, I get that this is an attempt to be lighthearted and whimsical. However, it fails badly when you consider how much misinformation and active disinformation is allowed by CNN on its various shows.