We have never had debate moderators as fact checkers. They ask the questions and let the candidates themselves call B.S. on each other. Their job is to be the neutral arbiter of the debate, asking the questions they believe will most illuminate the differences between and views of the candidates.
In 2012, Candy Crowley of CNN tried to fact check on the fly between Romney and Obama on Benghazi and she arguably got no more a precisely correct answer than Romney did. But what she did get was savaged by Republicans who perceived bias in an already biased media. I was one of the lone voices on the right to defend her, but even I maintained that the moderator should moderate, not fact check.
Fact checking is an inherently different role from that of the traditional role of moderators.
If the candidates cannot call B.S. on each other, there are fundamental problems in those candidates, not the moderator. The campaigns themselves have ample staff in the background to flood the zone with emails and post-debate spin pointing out problems, lies, and misstatements.
But the Circle of Jerks in Washington is now pounding the drum on forcing Lester Holt et al to be fact checkers in addition to being moderators. They are only doing so because they hate Trump, think Trump is wrong about everything, and think fact checking Trump to his face will hurt him.
Frankly, it helps Trump and the Circle of Jerks, in their hatred of Trump, are too inflamed to even see it. All it does is build sympathy for the candidate with an American public that hates the Circle of Jerks even more than it hates the politicians in America.
It is partisanship by the press to demand moderators also be fact checkers. They are picking up and running with a left-wing grievance and they are only doing it because Donald Trump will be on the debate stage. It is something to behold to see the Circle of Jerks willing to throw Lester Holt and the other moderators to the wolves all in an effort to get Trump.
Lester Holt et al should ask questions and allow the other candidate to use the follow up to convince the public their opponent does not know what s/he is talking about. And thankfully, I believe they’ll do that instead of succumbing to the demands of the left and its mouthpieces in the Circle of Jerks.