Dems Blame CNN Moderators After Biden Debate Disaster 5

You can always tell who lost a presidential debate by which party is slamming the moderators afterwards. And in the wake of Joe Biden and Donald Trump‘s first 2024 presidential debate, many progressives are focusing their fire on CNN‘s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, calling out the duo for not fact-checking Trump in real time during the 90-minute face off.

Thursday’s clash featured a performance by President Joe Biden that many are calling disastrous for his re-election chances, with CNN’s own post-debate panelists suggesting the president should consider withdrawing from the race.

But Biden’s behavior also distracted viewers from Trump’s numerous untruths, such as falsely claiming (per The Guardian and Washington Post) that “everybody” wanted to overturn Roe v Wade, that he had “best environmental numbers ever,” that Nancy Pelosi declined an offer to deploy troops on Jan. 6 (that’s not her purview, for starters, but it was in his), that his tax cuts were the “largest in history” (try fourth), that Biden called Black Americans “superpredators” (no evidence of this), and that migrants hurt Social Security and Medicare (having more workers actually helps pay into the funds).

Salon columnist Brain J. Karem wrote on X: “The biggest sin was the fact that the moderators failed to moderate the debate. A complete abdication of journalistic responsibility.”

Washington Post commentator Karen Attiah wrote: “CNN’s moderating decisions damage the credibility of our profession. CNN’s format of no fact checking, no pushback, no follow-ups was a mistake. The Biden campaign agreeing to this was a mistake. It demonstrates Trump’s strength and power. He can bend the media and Biden to play by his rules.”

Kate Smith, senior director of news for Planned Parenthood, wrote on X: “How are none of the moderators fact checking this post birth abortion nonsense?? That was a dumpster fire.”

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann posted on X: “CNN’s decision to abrogate its journalistic responsibilities by not fact-checking Trump’s firehose of lies is unforgivable.”

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, wrote on X: “I wish the CNN moderators did more fact-checking, letting the audience know when things are said that are flatly false. Not sure how it helps for a platform to transmit falsehoods disguised as facts.”

Biden told some untruths on stage as well, such as misleadingly claiming Trump ruined the economy and there were no jobs when he took office, and claiming he’s reduced border crossings by 40 percent.

Of course, countering untruths made by a candidate during a debate is primarily the responsibility of the rival candidate on stage. CNN’s debate format provided the opportunity for both candidates to give responses and rebuttals. And Biden declared Trump was lying many, many times. Yet the greater issue was arguably that Biden struggled to articulate a successful retort that landed.

Also, CNN was widely slammed in 2015 when moderator Candy Crowley seemingly came to Barack Obama’s rescue to fact-check Mitt Romney during a pivotal moment during a debate, a famous CNN debate misstep Tapper and Bash were likely trying to avoid. At the beginning of the debate, Tapper said, “Our job is to facilitate a debate between the two candidates tonight.”

Previously, CNN political director David Chalian told The Washington Post: “The venue of a presidential debate between these two candidates is not the ideal venue for a live fact-checking exercise,” and CNN has since issued a statement standing by its moderators.

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