News & Politics

PBS Debate Moderators Under Fire for Ignoring Clinton Scandals

PBS Debate Moderators Under Fire for Ignoring Clinton Scandals
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

PBS is under fire today after neglecting to ask Hillary Clinton a single question about any of her scandals during last night’s Democratic debate in Milwaukee. Pundits are blasting the debate moderators for handling the candidate with kid gloves even as damaging new revelations about her emails and the Clinton Foundation were breaking.

The media shows its bias most blatantly in what it chooses not to cover, rather than by what it does. That unfortunate reality was on display on PBS. Andrew Malcolm at Investor’s Business Daily scorched PBS for giving Clinton a “complete pass” on the email scandal, the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, and the national debt.

Of the 16,000 words uttered by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and moderators Gwen Ifil and Judy Woodruff, not one of them concerned Clinton’s deepening email scandal. Not one mention of the words email, e-mail, private server or FBI.

Not a single media question or opponent mention of the huge legal cloud hanging over the party’s presumptive nominee. Nor of the ongoing FBI investigation into unauthorized use of her unsecured private email server for government business, including loose handling of Top Secret documents endangering national security intelligence-gathering and covert operations.

Instead, Malcolm noted, PBS focused on questions “about being female, admiring Obama, taxing the rich more, free stuff and other liberal issues.”

The fact that the debate happened on the same day the Washington Post reported that the State Department IG subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation only adds to the media malpractice.

Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer pointed out the media double standard by noting that moderators never miss an opportunity to stir the pot during GOP debates:

While presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been asked about a loan from Goldman Sachs and Donald Trump about bankruptcies in his past (legitimate questions in my mind), a federal subpoena to a foundation where Hillary Clinton recently served on the board doesn’t even warrant a murmur from Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, two PBS journalists?

The Fox News Channel’s post-debate panel lambasted PBS for its “failure to highlight the massive scandals at any point in the two-hour debate.” Via Newsbusters:

Fournier led into this attack by blasting Clinton for not “sharpen[ing] her message” and “still meandering all over the place”: “Bernie Sanders for the love of God, how do you go throughout the debate and not mention e-mails? Not mention that the State Department and IG went after the Clinton Foundation?” Baier jumped in and emphasized that “there wasn’t a question” asked by Ifill or Woodruff to which Fournier shot back that “[i]f I’m running for president, you don’t have to ask me that question. I’m bringing it up myself.”

The Special Report host and two-time 2016 GOP debate moderator made clear that he would bring it up if he were at the debate table and Fournier complimented him for stating that because “[y]ou would ask it again and again, as you should” since “[i]t’s a very pertinent question.”

Bret Baier observed to Hill columnist A.B. Stoddard that “this situation is only going to increase about the e-mails, the Foundation, surprising that it did not come up tonight.”

Stoddard agreed and described its absence as “stunning” and provided Clinton a full and “complete pass on a terrible day and it’s going to be a very tough couple weeks for her.”

During CNN’s post-debate coverage, Philadelphia-based radio talk show host and CNN commentator Michael Smerconish questioned DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the matter:

Today, we learned that the State Department…. served a subpoena on the Clinton Foundation. It’s a big story and yet tonight, there were no questions on that subject where Secretary Clinton, according to exit surveys in New Hampshire and elsewhere, has problems with the electorate in terms of honesty and trustworthiness, don’t up think she’d be better served if there was more questioning in a forum like tonight on that particular subject?

When Wasserman Schultz dodged the question, Smerconish tried asking in a “friendlier way,” only to be given another non-answer. As Clinton is the DNC’s preferred candidate, it should be no surprise that DWS had no problem with PBS’s journalistic malpractice. After all, they’re all on the same team.