The liberals who thought Chris Wallace did a bang-up job as moderator of the third presidential debate were judging strictly by appearances, contended Daily Kos’s Laura Clawson and Salon’s Gary Legum in separate articles. Clawson pooh-poohed the praise for Wallace, sneering that he “really wasn’t all that. Unless the ‘that’ is ‘a purveyor of right-wing talking points masked as “fair and balanced” questions.’” Legum called Wallace “a creature of Fox News, a point of view he betrayed through both his selection of several questions and the right-wing frame he gave to them. Which might have tickled the amygdala of conservatives everywhere, but also managed to perpetrate for a mainstream audience a couple of the more pernicious policy myths that haunt our political discourse.”
Did NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell ask Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a softball question fed to her by a leading Clinton campaign official Wednesday evening? It sure looks that way.
The concern is utterly reasonable because of Mitchell's track record of running interference for Hillary Clinton's campaign and liberal politicians and causes in general.
Since a number of women have gone public with charges that Donald Trump groped or forceably kissed them in past encounters, there has been a pattern of the broadcast networks being more likely to use the words "sexual assault" in referring to Trump's behavior, while using more toned down or vague wording to describe accusations against former President Bill Clinton of behavior that is at least as severe. This double standard has especially recurred several times over the past week on ABC's World News Tonight.
Between them, ABC correspondents Tom Llamas and David Wright have used forms of the words "sexual assault" or "assault" five times across three shows since last Thursday. But, on all five occasions when similar accusations against Clinton were referenced, Llamas avoided the word "assault," using words like "sex scandals," "sexual misconduct," and "accusers."
News broke Thursday of a new Clinton campaign e-mail exposed by WikiLeaks that reinforces the persistent notion that the Clinton Foundation is a pay-for-play scheme. And yet the “Big Three” networks ABC, CBS, and NBC pretended like it didn’t even happen. “New scrutiny tonight on the Clinton Foundation coming from what were supposed to be private e-mails,” stated Fox News Anchor Bret Baier on Special Report, moving on to ask, “How much money and how much influence were on the table in dealings involving the Clinton family charity?”
As many leading pundits in the media pointed out, last night’s debate was probably Donald Trump’s last major opportunity to turn the tide of the campaign. Though Trump was the winner on points, he was nowhere near close enough to the decisive knock out he needed to gain the initiative.
At NewsBusters late Wednesday afternoon, Tim Graham observed that many news outlets, including the Associated Press and most of the nation’s major newspapers, had not yet covered "the Project Veritas videos exposing Democratic operatives talking about voter fraud and inciting violence at Donald Trump rallies."
Graham's explanation: The non-coverage "marginalizes these charges enough that if Donald Trump brought it up" in Wednesday night's debate, many viewers unaware of the games the press plays with news timing wouldn't believe it — because after all, they surely would have seen important news like this reported by now. As if by magic, the Associated Press squeezed in a report on the Veritas videos which could easily have been filed Tuesday evening — and posted it at 8:14 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, 46 minutes before the third presidential debate officially began.
While Fox's Chris Wallace has drawn near-universal praise for moderating the final presidential debate, the Hollywood trade paper Variety carried the contrarian headline: "Final Debate: Wallace Misses." TV critic Sonia Soraiya wrote Wallace’s questions “provided some of the most heartfelt responses from her [Hillary] , such as her articulate, emotional statement of purpose on abortion.”
She complained "Wallace’s questions had the effect of equalizing the two candidates, a journalistic tic that is admirable but unhelpful in 2016. Trump’s mendacious statements going unchallenged did not help anyone except Trump himself."
Fox News’s Megyn Kelly on Wednesday night absolutely grilled Donna Brazile over a WikiLeak revelation that she gave a primary debate question in advance to Hillary Clinton. A flustered Brazile seemed to have no response and appeared totally unprepared for handling the issue. This is a question that most mainstream journalists have showed little interest in pursuing.
Appearing on Thursday’s NBC Today, special correspondent Tom Brokaw dismissed Donald Trump’s accusations of liberal media bias: “His complaints have been, apparently, that he thinks there’s a media conspiracy of some kind. The media conspiracy consists of The New York Times printing his tax returns...”
On Thursday morning, journalists on CBS and CNN were aghast at Donald Trump bluntly and accurately describing Hillary Clinton’s support for partial-birth abortion. Attempting to fact-check the Republican nominee on CBS This Morning, former Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer falsely asserted: “...no woman carries a child for eight and a half months and then decides she wants to have an abortion.”
How many more broadcast bust-ups will it take before America finally decides to make its presidential election debates tolerable again? I can't take it anymore. Can you? For the past three cycles -- 2008, 2012, and 2016 -- I've chronicled the depressing, systemic bias of left-leaning partisans whom the Commission on Presidential Debates routinely installs as "moderators."
Three of the late-night comedy programs went live to react to Wednesday’s final presidential debate and the assembled hosts and guests offered vulgar jokes comparing Donald Trump to a sex toy, phone sex operator, and man who needs breast feeding while dubbing Trump debate guest “Sarah Palin is the HPV of American politics.”