Even though Donald Trump has been campaigning, debating and attacking every politician, including most of the media for fifteen straight months now, CNN's Dana Bash believes fairly or not, that "the onus is on her to perform well" at the presidential debates.
Wolf Blitzer and his panel deliberated a few issues, including a tightening of the polls and when the discussion turned towards the presidential debates, Wolf asked Susan Page, "how ugly is the debate going to be?"
Page said, "I think there is no reason to expect that that first debate won't just increase, just intensify the attacks we've heard from each of these on the other."
Wolf asked Dana if she agreed and Bash said, "Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But I do think that the stakes are much higher in this debate and all the debates for Hillary Clinton because the expectations are higher for her because she is a seasoned politician, she is a seasoned debater."
Really, media. You're going there?
She continued, "Yes, we saw Donald Trump in the primaries debate for the first time, but he is a first-time politician. So for lots of reasons, maybe it's not fair but it's the way it is, the onus is on her."
Of course it's not fair and the media doesn't have to set up that narrative at all. Why is the onus and the stakes on her to perform at a much superior level?
Why isn't the onus on Donald Trump to show America the full scope of his knowledge of all the issues and debate like a president candidate since he's running for the highest office in the land?
Why must Hillary be asked to perform definitively better than her opponent?
Why, oh why.
As Digby tweeted:
Is this how the entire beltway media feels? Let's just spot Trump a field goal and start from there?
Has Draft Kings set up a back channel pool for the media with big cash prizes?
Greg Sargent was on this today as well.
Get ready for news organizations to grade Trump’s debate performance on a massive curve. Here is a depressing harbinger of what’s coming, from CNN today:
In front of a vast television audience, the GOP nominee could reshape perceptions of his character and readiness — if he can avoid being drawn into gaffes and personality clashes by Clinton. He will benefit from rock-bottom expectations, given controversies whipped up by his tempestuous personality and the vast gulf in experience between Trump and Clinton.
In other words, if Trump doesn’t try to urinate in Clinton’s direction or manages not to vomit all over his podium, he will have “defied expectations.” So presidential!
In saying these types of things, news orgs and commentators never allow that they are the ones who decide whether the supposed defiance of expectations in question actually should lead us to lower the bar for a candidate or otherwise factor in to how we judge his or her performance. It shouldn’t.
Why don't both candidates start on a level playing field?
Isn't that a radical idea?