Presidential Debates Shouldn't Have Moderators

Debate moderators are an interesting relic of another era. These days they have two functions...

1. To promote the brand of a particular media figure and his attached company

2. To favor one particular candidate

The first 2020 presidential debate was a missed opportunity to dispense with this relic of an era of civility and formality. Moderators haven't functioned as impartial figures prompting a conversation in a long time. They inject themselves into the process. Invariably.

It would be easy enough to arrange a format based around limits on speaking time, with the opposing candidate's microphone muted, that would be technologically mediated and as impartial as possible. That would be about the only way to return to the original spirit of the moderator's function, which is to allow the candidates to speak and address issues, rather than acting as a factional referee. 

It's not about Chris Wallace. It doesn't really matter who the moderator is. Any national media figure is likely to go down the same path, some worse than others. Call it structural bias. The only way to get rid of it is to dump the system.

Any candidate who can't debate without a moderator isn't qualified to serve anyway.

Share