Debating the Debate and Immoderate Moderation

By:  Selwyn Duke
10/18/2012
       
Debating the Debate and Immoderate Moderation

The truth is that Candy Crowley’s meddling at the Hofstra presidential debate was as inappropriate as was her presence itself. It was much as if Angelo Dundee had been the referee for the first Ali/Frazier fight and jumped on Smokin’ Joe’s back because Ali couldn’t hack it that night. She had no business doing the job of the judges (the post-debate analysts). And it was a role that she embraced only selectively.

Despite all the scrutiny placed on debate moderation, Candy Crowley nonetheless managed to stoop to the occasion Tuesday night at Hofstra University. Yet, despite her best efforts, the 2012 debate record is still Democrats and the media 0 for 3. Unfortunately, the truth has been a casualty as well.

“‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool….” You know the rest. When Crowley “corrected” Mitt Romney after he rightly said that Barack Obama didn’t declare the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, she sounded like a mother defending her little son’s lie in deference to emotional attachment. And while she would have to admit her error post debate, she had a rationalization at the ready: Romney used the wrong word. Yes, that’s right up there with her son Barry’s copout that gas prices were far lower four years ago because the economy was collapsing. But the problem wasn’t the wrong word — it was the wrong moderator.

Even with Crowley’s thoroughly modern mea culpa, however, much of the damage was done. What about the viewers who didn’t watch the post-debate coverage and are only as informed as Crowley herself?

The truth is that Crowley’s meddling was as inappropriate as was her presence itself. It was much as if Angelo Dundee had been the referee for the first Ali/Frazier fight and jumped on Smokin’ Joe’s back because Ali couldn’t hack it that night. She had no business doing the job of the judges (the post-debate analysts). And it was a role that she embraced only selectively. She didn’t, for instance, chime in and confirm that Romney was correct when he said that the Obama administration has reduced the number of permits for oil drilling on public lands.

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Selwyn Duke (photo)

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