Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An impartial moderator?

Gwen Ifill of PBS is to be the moderator for tomorrow night's vice-presidential debate.
Moderators are supposed to be impartial. But today there are real questions as to whether Ms. Ifill can fill that bill:

"Questions are being raised about the objectivity of Thursday's vice presidential debate moderator after news surfaced that she is releasing a new book promoting Barack Obama and other black politicians who have benefited from the civil rights struggle. Gwen Ifill, of PBS' "The NewsHour," is expected to remain as moderator, however....Ifill's book, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," is due to be released about the same time the next president takes the oath of office. In her book, Ifill contends that the black political structure of the civil rights movement has cleared the way for post-racial politicians to ascend to new heights...."Clearly her books aren't going to do as well unless Obama wins, so it looks like she has some investment, literally, in one candidate or the other. And she's supposed to be sitting there as a neutral arbiter during the debate," said NPR's Juan Williams, a FOX News contributor. "I think the world of Gwen Ifill but I know there's a perception problem." FOX News political analyst Michelle Malkin argued in a post on National Review that Ifill is "so far in the tank for the Democratic presidential candidate, her oxygen delivery line is running."

Two points on this. First--some acquaintances of mine claim that the news media is "conservative" and dominated by "corporate interests." What a laugh. Second: it's a good thing this came out now. Conservatives should make a big fuss about this. Because therefore Ifill will have to bend over backwards to be fair tomorrow night to Sarah Palin, in order to make sure there are no accusations of partiality. Perfect.