Bozell & Graham Column: NBC Names Debate Moderators, or Celebrators

The first Democratic presidential debates are scheduled for NBC and MSNBC on June 26 and 27. The Comcast-owned networks have just announced a team of five moderators for the 20 candidates who are allowed to participate, or one moderator for each four contenders. Let’s review this tilted team of liberal journalists/activists.

1. Rachel Maddow is a leftist Trump-hating Russiagate conspiracy theorist. She ended her last turn as a debate moderator by hugging both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. When this was mocked, she promised she would also hug Republicans if they let her moderate a debate. This is never going to happen. Maddow’s show has been a hot spot in recent months for easy, positive publicity for Democratic presidential candidates...and Hillary Clinton....and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. You get the pretty picture.

2. Lester Holt was a one-sided disaster as a moderator between Trump and Clinton in the fall of 2016. Holt asked Trump about stop-and-frisk policies, then challenged his answer. He hammered Trump about the Obama-birther issue, then challenged his answer. He asked Trump about Iraq, and then interrupted and challenged him five different times. But there was not one single, solitary challenge to anything Hillary Clinton said. In fact, there were no questions about Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation, or anything scandalous. The New York Times loved it. Say no more.

3. Chuck Todd has interviewed Bernie Sanders umpteen times in the last five years, and has never disclosed that the direct-mail fundraising firm run by his wife Kristian Denny Todd earned almost $2 million from Bernie’s 2016 campaign. This is a clear conflict of interest and Todd should recuse himself from any such discussion. But Todd doesn’t think that’s worth mentioning, just like he’s thinks you shouldn’t mention the cozy dinner party and cocktail hour at his house in 2015 honoring Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

Transparency is a one-way street. The public doesn’t have a right to know.

4. Savannah Guthrie is best remembered by us for assisting sleazy author Joe McGinniss as he uncorked a pile of unproven sex-and-cocaine rumors about Sarah Palin’s personal life on “Today” in 2011. Like her pal Chuck Todd, Guthrie has a spouse who works in Democrat circles. Michael Feldman spent the 1990s as an aide to Al Gore, then became a Hollywood consultant who helped him push his “Inconvenient Truth” documentaries.

5. Jose Diaz-Balart, a news anchor on the NBC-owned Spanish-language network Telemundo, might be painted as the centrist here, since he has two brothers who were Republican congressmen from Florida. But Telemundo fiercely editorializes on air against any policy restraining illegal immigration. To oppose it is smeared as “anti-immigrant.” For example, Diaz-Balart reported on May 30, “The private wall that is being built by an anti-immigrant group at the border has sparked a wave of repudiation, both from area activists as well as residents.” 

This is all par for the course for Comcast, whose chief lobbyist David Cohen hosted a fundraiser in late April for front-runner Joe Biden in Philadelphia. Biden proclaimed to the audience there that America’s moral fabric was being “shredded” by Donald Trump, and he would work as president to “restore the American creed.”

The fabric that’s been shredded here is the notion that NBC or MSNBC can be perceived by anyone with a brain wave as a neutral moderator in our political debates.

Column NBC MSNBC Telemundo Rachel Maddow Lester Holt Savannah Guthrie Jose Diaz-Balart Chuck Todd Joe Biden Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton
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