After Fox News hosted the first Republican presidential primary debate of the campaign season, some conservatives did what dumb, ideological people like to do: Complain that no one is on their side and everyone is out to screw up the mostly mediocre lives they’re comfortable in.
The debate was outstanding. It rightfully set a ratings record. And that’s in large part because of the moderators: universally respected Fox anchors Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace.
They asked aggressive questions of people who want to be in power. (That’s called “journalism,” or, if you’re a college student hoping to become a reporter “unemployment.”)
Apparently regular Fox viewers, i.e. Republican voters, think it’s actually the network’s job (presumably because it has some conservative commentators on the payroll) to build up all of the top GOP presidential candidates– promote them as the next presidents, and dear god, make sure they’re not embarrassed on national television.
Wrong. The job of any journalist moderating a debate is to expose the weaknesses of the people on the stage. That’s how inferior candidates are weeded out and the eventual nominee is strengthened to go up against the other party’s candidate.
One guy on Twitter had kind of a point:
@eScarry prefer candidates to debate and moderators to moderate. The candidates only debated with the moderators for the most part.
— Slytle (@Slytle24) August 7, 2015
Some viewers think the moderators played too big of a role and should have simply facilitated back-and-forth between the candidates.
But that did happen, several times, most memorably between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. The problem: Those often either turn into shouting matches or a battle of those awful “zingers” that the general public, with it’s low-level sense of humor, seems to enjoy.
Nothing is learned from two candidates yelling at each other. It’s better, most of the time, for the moderator to do the probing.
For the people who think Fox’s debate was too uncomfortable to watch, because it showed that voters still have, you know, something to think about before November 2016: Sit this election out. Doesn’t sound like it’s for you.