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Moderators: Are They Referees or Fighters?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The latest Gallup poll confirms that the level of trust in the media has reached another new low. The percentage of Republicans who hold a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in the press has dropped precipitously to 14 percent, begging the question: Who are the 14 percent who are comfortable with the nonstop tirade against them?


It's no accident these numbers emerge while the liberal press slams the GOP nominee as too dangerous to be allowed to win. Public trust is on the line when moderators line up for the presidential debates. Will they be fair, or will they decide "history" is too important, and pound on Donald Trump before a national audience? Some won't.

Already, Fox's Chris Wallace drew liberal outrage by declaring: "I do not believe that it's my job to be a truth squad. It's up to the other person to catch them on that." Wallace sees his role as being like a referee in a heavyweight boxing match, where no one remembers him being there. But the left hounds today's liberal media, saying that being a mere referee is being an accessory to evil.

Matt Lauer was hounded for failing to call out Trump in the NBC commander-in-chief forum for lying about his support for the Iraq war, and daring to question Hillary Clinton about her email scandal. The left is poised to rip into any journalist who doesn't tilt the playing field.

It's been easily established over the last year that Trump can lie or mangle facts without regret. But how has it not been just as established that the Clintons lie and mangle facts without regret? Our so-called facts "referees" deplore the one at every opportunity, while tolerating, ignoring or even defending the other.


On Sept. 19, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. was the latest pundit citing the liberal site that calls itself PolitiFact to suggest that Clinton is much more honest. Fifty-three percent of PolitiFact's Trump utterances, he says, were ruled "False" or "Pants On Fire" lies, compared to only 13 percent of Clinton's.

This happens because PolitiFact routinely fails to assign its "fact-checkers" when Team Clinton lies through its teeth. For example, try to find the ruling for when the Clinton campaign said that Clinton left a 9/11 anniversary event because she was simply "overheated." That was a Pants on Fire moment. Similarly, PolitiFact refused to rule on whether Clinton lied to Benghazi families about a video being responsible for the loss of their loved ones.

Then, there are those Pants on Fire rulings on Trump. The latest one regarded Trump declaring that Clinton has no child care plan. Perhaps Dionne should talk to his fellow Post columnist Catherine Rampell. Three days before he cited PolitiFact as reliable, Rampell wrote that the Clinton campaign "tweeted a snarky retort to (Trump), saying: 'It's literally right here,' with a link to (Clinton's) website." Then, Rampell announced, "But if you click that link, you'll discover that Trump is...not wrong." What Clinton had offered was a gushy list of goals, with no plan to meet them.


Nevertheless, PolitiFact proclaimed, "we found two headings on the issues page of Clinton's website that seemed to address the question." So, headings that "seem" to address an issue are somehow a plan? How does this "fact" make Trump a Pants on Fire liar?

Journalists will analyze the "facts" of the debates as soon as they're over. But they want Trump to be thumped for "lies" in real time -- surely, so that Clinton can be proclaimed the "winner," also in real time. They don't want to be referees. They want to be fighters who defeat Trump.

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