Rating the Moderator: American Presidential Election


In every Presidential debate this year the candidates have been the stars of the show. With the last debate completed, how have the moderators fared?

Overall, the debates consisted mainly of shouting matches between the candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Due to repeated interruptions from the candidates, time keeping was a significant problem for the moderators.

NBC News anchor Lester Holt visits RC(S)

The first debate of the election was fraught with uncertainty, as no one could be sure how the candidates would react when poised against each other.

The debate was held on the 26th of September and was moderated by Lester Holt, a journalist for the NBC.

Holt attempted to ask the candidates questions concerning police brutality and the risks of cyber-terrorism.

Yet he was forced to spend most of the time trying to quiet down Donald Trump. Trump had previously expressed his dislike for Holt that night by falsely accusing him of being a Democrat.

This resulted in a sense of conflict not only between the candidates, but Trump and the moderator as well. Holt was drowned out and the spotlight remained on the candidates.

Anderson Cooper from CNN, and Martha Raddatz from ABC moderated the second debate. The presence of two moderators seemed to allow for a more timely and controlled debate.

The pair cracked down on interruption and pushed the candidates for answers. But when Cooper inquired about the Republican candidate’s sexist comments from 2005, the moderators struggled with the task of keeping Trump’s outrage under control.

Yet the moderators were fair in their questioning, as they also probed Clinton on her use of her private email as Secretary of State.

While the duo tried to remain fair and in control, they were still overshadowed by outbursts and interruption.

The final debate took place on the 19th of October. Chris Wallace from Fox News was an efficient and unbiased moderator.

In the face of Trump’s criticism and interruption, Wallace applied humor, stating: “I’m not a potted plant here. I do get to ask questions.”

This light-hearted reply was effective, and the debate continued.  Wallace has since received praise for being an unbiased moderator.

The Presidential debates of this year have revealed much about the candidates. But without the perseverance of the moderators,  The moderators battled against the candidates for answers, but were not always successful.

Although, when faced with difficult and unyielding candidates, and efficient and unbiased moderator can make all the difference.