Can we stop calling the hosts of the presidential debates "moderators"? They're left-erators. It's time for the old media godfathers to end the pretense that they're fair and neutral observers of the American political scene. And it's time for the GOP to stop perpetuating these rigged exercises in futility.
Last week, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the names of 2012's chosen referees: CNN's Candy Crowley, PBS's Jim Lehrer and CBS's Bob Schieffer will preside over the three presidential debates; ABC's Martha Raddatz will host the sole vice presidential debate. While the debate panel trumpeted the gender diversity of its picks, the chromosomal diversity is far outweighed by the political uniformity, class conformity and geographical homogeneity of the group.
Crowley has lived and worked in D.C. for liberal CNN for a quarter-century. Raddatz worked for liberal National Public Radio for five years before joining ABC News; she has been based in the D.C. bureau for the better part of a decade. Schieffer has been a fixture in the nation's capital at CBS News, home of the faked Rathergate documents, for three decades. Lehrer, the liberal patriarch of PBS News, is nearly as aged a Beltway monument as the Washington Monument itself.
The presidential debates are the last bastion of "mainstream" media self-delusion in the 21st century. They are a ritual laughingstock for tens of millions of American viewers who have put up with leading, softball questions for Democratic candidates and combative, fili-blustery lectures for Republican candidates campaign cycle after cycle. Now, Democrats are lobbying the supposedly nonpartisan debate commission to disallow questions about President Obama's phony dog-and-pony deficit panel.
Why does the Republican Party agree to play along with this ideologically stacked deck masquerading as an objective pantheon of disinterested journalism? The Romney campaign's capitulation to the liberal debate racket and its narrative-warpers comes at a time when more and more members of the Fourth Estate itself are admitting that they have served or been treated as tools for the Obama administration:
--Just this week, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper told conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham that he "thought the media helped tip the scales" for Obama. "I didn't think the coverage in 2008 was especially fair to either Hillary Clinton or John McCain. Sometimes I saw with story selection, magazine covers, photos picked, (the) campaign narrative, that it wasn't always the fairest coverage." Duh.
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