Politico reports that the Trump campaign is intimately involved with moderator selection for the debates, seeing to it that Trump gets what Trump wants -- gentle questioning by friendly faces.
Lauer’s gentle questioning of Trump — after grilling Clinton over her use of the private email server and her 2003 vote in favor of the Iraq War — is but one example of television journalists treating the GOP nominee with kid gloves. Indeed, the media industry as a whole has become addicted to the television ratings and higher click-rates generated by Trump. Among media executives, the treatment of Trump by some networks and reporters is directly related to the leverage he holds, and he knows it.
Trump is “personally more involved in the process than most candidates are or at least admit to be,” said one network news executive, granted anonymity to speak privately. “His team is very keen on making sure he’s comfortable with who the interviewer is and the placement of the news cycle. He understands news very well. He’s more involved directly in booking than a typical candidate has been. They say yes a lot more, that’s not a surprise, a lot more than Hillary.”
Although that executive said Trump asks for specific anchors or moderators less than others, the GOP nominee is clear about which ones he prefers. It’s hard to envision Trump agreeing to last week’s NBC forum were Rachel Maddow or Chuck Todd asking the questions. And there is wide speculation among media executives that NBC’s Lester Holt, who Trump is comfortable with, was chosen to moderate the first debate with Clinton later this month in order to appease the GOP nominee. Similarly, some also believe that Fox News’ Chris Wallace was tapped to moderate the third and final debate to lessen the chance that Trump would skip it.
We can't have Trumpy stressed or challenged, now can we? And facts -- ha! It's not like those are a major consideration. See, for example, Chris Wallace vowing not to be a fact-checker in the video above.
There will be an accounting when this election is over. There must be. And it is time for serious people to figure out what we will no longer tolerate from our media AND our candidates.