Is it their duty to fact-check the candidates, to step in when a candidate makes a falsehood? The idea that the moderators will be a “referee” also risks being in conflict with a desire of the Commission on Presidential Debates. They want the candidates to be the story, not the journalists who are there with them.
On the latest “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Variety’s David Cohen and Alexander Heffner, host of “The Open Mind” on PBS, talk about what duty the moderators will have starting on Sept. 26, when “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt presides over the first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
One point that is being missed in this — Lauer was engaging in one-on-one interviews with the candidates, whereas the debates are a different format. The dynamics are different.
My guess is that we will see different styles with different hosts, but the journalists who have agreed to this assignment are in for criticism in this bitter election contest, no matter what style they choose to take.
The idea for last week’s presidential forum came from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Paul Rieckhoff, the group’s founder and CEO, found some faults with the way that the hour went — for one, he says, time was too short — but he thinks that it was a success in that it helped put veterans issues front and center. Reickhoff hopes that it will stay that way through the rest of the fall campaign.
A Filmmaker Approach to the Ad Spot
Lee Hirsch, founder of the SuperPAC Local Voices, has enlisted a dozen documentary filmmakers to come up with a series of anti-Trump and pro-Hillary spots that will run between now and election day. He says that the ads stand out in a clutter of other political commercials because they use some of the techniques seen in documentaries, like personal testimonials, and because the idea is to feature citizens who live in areas where the spots will run.
The Week Ahead
Hillary Clinton does another round of Hollywood fundraising on Tuesday, with events planned at the home of Barry Diller and Seth MacFarlane. That’s just three weeks since she last was in L.A. for a fundraising swing, and there’s some expectation that her campaign will schedule another trip before the Nov. 8 election.
Donald Trump will appear on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Thursday, where he will share his “personal health regimen.” Expect renewed attention on Clinton’s health after her departure from the 9/11 memorial commemoration today in what the campaign called “overheating.”
“PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays from 2-3 pm ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.