In the Debates: Who Needs Moderators?

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With moderators now designated for the upcoming presidential debates, candidates and organizers should rethink the out-sized role these journalists usually play. Yes, you need someone to enforce time limits and to announce periodic breaks, but a potentially biased broadcaster shouldn’t get to pose all questions and steer the discussion.

Why not allow candidates more substantial opening statements to lay out their arguments, and then give them time to question one another? Trump might get five questions to ask Hillary, and could press her  on the shameful handling of her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation.  Clinton would also ask five questions, and might push Trump on what he’s hiding in his unreleased tax returns. They could also focus on more substantive issues, while answering direct challenges to their usual talking points.

This format would make for more revealing confrontations that could engage the electorate and reduce chances for a one-sided moderator (like the infamous Candy Crowley in 2012)  tilting the outcome of the debate and the election.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Roy Benton  •  Sep 9, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Moderators are a hindrance to the debates. Just need one referee to keep the candidates from punching each other

  2. JAC  •  Sep 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Allowing the candidates to much control over a debate could turn it into nothing more than an Animal House type, food fight. I prefer, no more than two, top notch moderators to steer things in a productive manner. Yes Michael I'd love to you as one of the two……seriously.

  3. Clay Kemper  •  Sep 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I have never understood why candidates get to pick and choose what personal information

  4. Clay Kemper  •  Sep 11, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    they release. Health, income, birth, academic–these should be mandatory upon qualifying to run. No arguments. The stupid birth issue could be determined by the Supreme Court at the get go. All of the time and effort checking would be eliminated. If not provided, no candidacy. Period.

  5. Clay Kemper  •  Sep 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Release of the personal information–health, financial, place of birth, etc– should be mandatory in order to qualify. No questions. Period.

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