WashPost Asks Lehrer: Did Romney Say He 'Would Take the Rug Right Out From Under You' at PBS?

Jim Lehrer has granted several post-debate interviews to respond to negative reactions from other journalists. In Saturday's Washington Post, Paul Farhi concluded with this. "One last thing: What was your reaction when Governor Romney said he intended to end funding for PBS? Did it sound to you like he was saying, 'I’ll take the rug right out from under you if I’m president?'"

What? Romney would take away the furniture at PBS stations? Lehrer replied, "He’s said that before. That didn’t bother me or surprise me." Let's assume he meant he was unfazed, not that he was fond of PBS critics. We know better.

Lehrer said the same thing to Dylan Byers of Politico (who didn’t provide the way he asked the question). “I had absolutely no reaction. It didn’t surprise me at all,” Lehrer said.

When asked whether he was too passive, Lehrer insisted that a free-flowing discussion was the goal. “I don’t consider that being passive, I consider it being effective,” he said. “It’s not my job to control the conversation. If the candidates gave me resistance, and I let them talk, to me that’s being an active moderator, not a passive moderator.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis