November 10, 2012
Jim Lehrer was the moderator of the first debate. He read each question and allowed each speaker an equal amount of uninterrupted time to explain his ideas or point of view. The audience was able to listen to what each speaker had to say.
In the vice president debate, the moderator, Martha Raddatz, read the question and allowed the speakers an equal amount of time to explain his point of view. What she did not do was make sure that each speaker's time was not interrupted. This is the moderator's most important responsibility. If either speaker is not able to express his points of view without being interrupted, the debate is not a fair debate.
In the second presidential debate, the questions were asked by citizens. The moderator, Candy Crowley, was responsible for making sure the debate was a fair debate. Her responsibilities were to allow each speaker his allowed amount of uninterrupted time to speak and to monitor the time when each one was speaking. She not only failed to do this, but she became a member of the debate, expressing her own points of view.
This changed the debate from a one-to-one debate to a two-to-one debate. These debates were meant to be serious and respectful and to help voters make an informed decision when voting for president, not a free-for-all Sunday morning talk show.
I hope every network that ran the debate aired Candy Crowley's statement in entirety, which she made after the debate. She stated that Mr. Romney's comment about Mr. Obama's reporting on the attack in Benghazi in the debate was correct and that her comment, when she interrupted him, was not correct. If the news programs did not air her statement in entirety, you may begin to wonder what else the news programs are not airing.
Each moderator works for a national news network. Was this person picked to be moderator because he/she represents the reporting views of that network?
My conclusion of these last two debates is that Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama felt that they could not hold their own without being very rude. They continually interrupted Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan when they were talking about their ideas for the country or talking about things that had happened in the past four years.
What didn't they want you to hear? Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama each had equal time to say whatever they wanted to say to the American people.
The United States is a wonderful country. We need to present ourselves in a dignified manner to the people of this country and to the world.
Fran Thomas lives in Grass Valley.