Silly Chris Wallace. He seems to be under the impression that someone might mistake him for an actual journalist. As we already discussed here, Wallace has been chosen to be one of the moderators for the upcoming presidential debates. He checked in this Sunday on his buddy Howard Kurtz's show, Media Buzz and was asked what he thought his role would be as moderator.
His answer should surprise no one: Fox’s Chris Wallace: “Its Not My Role” As A Presidential Debate Moderator To Be A “Truth Squad”:
HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): Now, when you're on that big stage in Las Vegas, it's not like hosting a Sunday show, correct?
CHRIS WALLACE: No, it's very different, and I'm very mindful of that. 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 kind of 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.
KURTZ: I understand that and I think it's the right approach, not making it about you, on the other hand, there is a lot on your shoulders, both in terms of the question selection, but also as they go at it, let’s say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, what do you do if they make assertions that you know to be untrue?
WALLACE: 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: I want it to be as much of a debate as possible. Frankly, with these two and the way -- as Keith Jackson used to say about football rivals, 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.
As Media Matters noted this week, Trump's efforts to influence the debate moderator selection seem to have paid off.