Should he or shouldn’t he? Should debate moderator Lester Holt “fact-check” the candidates? That is one of the big questions about tonight’s debate at Hofstra, University.
IMHO Being a moderator at a debate is a lot being like an umpire at a baseball game, if you leave the game talking about the umpire it means the umpire screwed up. But just like major decisions in my household, the question of fact-checking is not my decision, it’s the moderator’s and there is pressure on him from team Clinton and the liberal media to play truth police as well as moderate the debate.
In 2012 Candy Crowley was more than a moderator at the Hofstra debate, she was an active participant not allowing Romney to answer Obama’s attacks, and incorrectly fact-checking the Republican candidate.
The Hofstra debate in 2012 will always be known as the one Candy Crowley screwed up. It is also known as the one where Candy Crowley stalked me. I was in the spin room for that debate and she kept trying to take over my computer. That experience is one of the reasons I decided not to go this year (well that and the fact that I didn’t get credentialed).
Candy Crowley’s faux pas changed the momentum of the race. Barack Obama lost the first debate badly, and Romney was winning debate number two, until Crowley got involved.
Both sides have been lobbying Moderator Lester Holt. Hillary and her liberal friends in the mainstream media have been telling Holt to be a fact checker during the debate. They claim that everything Trump says is a lie. Fact checking goes two ways. Hillary is still claiming that the FBI director exonerated her (he didn’t charge her but he said she lied). She still says that Benghazi was caused by a video. She switch sides on issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and denies it…in other words both candidates should fear a fact checking moderator.
On the other side, Team Trump has been reminding Lester Holt of the Crowley incident and that it isn’t a moderator’s Job to fact check. That is up to the candidates, the pundits during the after shows and of course the fact-checker such as Glenn Reynolds of the Washington Post and Politifact.
But Janet Brown, executive director of the [debate]commission, which organizes the debates every four years, said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” that “I don’t think it’s a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
Once the fact-checking door is open, “I’m not sure, what is the big fact, and what is a little fact?” She added, “Does your source about the unemployment rate agree with my source?”
But the Clinton team says that Trump is so much of a liar that this is a special case. They are wrong. Trump lies, Clinton lies, that’s why there is a spin room for reporters after the debate. Let’s face it the next politician who tells the truth all the time will be the first one.
Tonight I will be looking for many things out of the debate, but one of the biggest things is whether Lester Holt injects himself into the contest by fact-checking, or simply does the job of a moderator; facilitate a discussion between the two candidates. If Holt injects himself he can single-handedly change the momentum of the race, just as Candy Crowley did four years ago.