Debate commission to mute mike of opposing candidate at beginning of segments

Debate commission to mute mike of opposing candidate at beginning of segments
The calm before the storm. Trump, Biden, and Biden ally Wallace take the stage at the first debate in Cleveland, 29 Sep 2020. PBS video, YouTube

Why doesn’t Commission on Presidential Debates eliminate the middle man and declare Biden the winner of Thursday’s debate now? The commission has made no secret about which of the two major party candidates it’s shilling for. As in years past, the bulk of its hand-picked moderators have been represenatives of media outlets with a strong liberal bias. (Yes, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who was selected to moderate the first debate, may not fit that description but he has metamorphosed into a full-fledged Never-Trumper, which is the next best thing.)

When it came to the second debate, which needed to be postponed after Donald Trump came down with COVID, the commission instead devised a nifty alternative: to conduct the debate virtually, obviating Joe Biden’s need to wear a wire as he was accused of doing during Debate 1. When Trump refused to agree to the conditions, the commission dithered long enough to provide the Biden camp with enough time and motivation to plan its own “town hall” on the evening set aside for the debate.

Now with one debate to go, the commission is at it again. Ignoring the Trump campaign’s argument that the third debate is normally devoted to foreign policy — which would be a big win for Trump and a blow for Joe Biden — the commission will go forward with a list of topics chosen by the moderator, NBC News reporter Kristen Welker, who hails from a family that has donated large sums to Democratic candidates. The topics will be limited to race, national security, leadership, America’s families, COVID-19, and climate change.

But the commission hasn’t stopped there. According to NPR, it announced yesterday that each of the candidates will have two minutes of uninterrupted time to speak at the beginning of every 15-minute segment of the debate, adding:

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The only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules.

The rule (which may as well be called “the Trump Rule”) is meant to prevent free-for-alls such as occurred during Debate 1.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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