The moderators for the presidential debates between President Trump and Joe Biden have been announced. One notoriously anti-Trump network failed to make the cut by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Here is the official list:
First presidential debate:
Chris Wallace, Anchor, Fox News Sunday
Tuesday, September 29, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Vice presidential debate:
Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief, USA Today
Wednesday, October 7, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Second presidential debate (town meeting):
Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks
Thursday, October 15, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL
Third presidential debate:
Kristen Welker, Co-Anchor Weekend TODAY, White House Correspondent, NBC News
Thursday, October 22, Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Noticeably absent from the list is CNN, a constant target of President Trump for their notoriously biased coverage. CNN has been a part of the presidential debates since 2008, and I suspect their exclusion was urged by the Trump campaign.
While CNN was snubbed, Fox News’ representation surely will anger many on the left, even though it is Chris Wallace, whose recent interview with Trump was not the softball interview that Biden typically enjoys from liberal-leaning networks. Biden himself has not agreed to an interview with Wallace.
CNN’s exclusion from the debates is well deserved—and late in coming. Their bias has shown itself not just in their news coverage but in past presidential debates. In 2012, CNN’s Candy Crowley infamously injected herself into the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney by incorrectly fact-checking Mitt Romney, who had noted that it took more than two weeks before Obama admitted that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was, in fact, a terrorist attack. Crowley interjected to say that was not true. Romney was correct. It took Obama 17 days to acknowledge that the Benghazi attack was a planned terrorist attack.
Crowley eventually admitted her error, saying on the air that Romney “was right in the main, but he just chose the wrong word.” That didn’t stop her network from defending her actions. Despite her inappropriate actions, CNN participated in the 2016 debates, with Anderson Cooper moderating the second debate between Trump and Clinton in 2016.
The conditions of the debates are agreed to by both campaigns. While none of the moderators from Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani’s list made the final cut, I suspect CNN’s omission from the list was clearly something the Trump campaign would not budge on.
The Trump campaign had also urged the committee to add a fourth debate to occur sooner for the benefit of those voting early. That request was denied.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis