Veteran journalist and Fox News reporter Chris Wallace returned on Sept. 29, 2020, to moderate his second presidential debate ever at the first showdown between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. At first, Wallace was a welcomed choice, as many praised him for having a no-nonsense, sharp approach when moderating the final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton back in 2016. In fact, his performance got rewarded with positive reviews from both sides of the political spectrum.
What’s more? Wallace hails from a family of respected journalists (he is the son of 60 Minutes investigative reporter, Mike Wallace, and the stepson of former CBS News president, Bill Leonard, as USA Today noted), so there’s a legacy backing up his resume and proven skills.
So it is arguably surprising, then, that the audience appeared to have flipped on Wallace during the first presidential debate of 2020, which took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Spectators on both political sides have tweeted up a storm about their grievances with Wallace’s moderation this time around. Let’s dig into why people are furious about Chris Wallace’s debate performance.
Chris Wallace got slammed for losing control
Ahead of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Chris Wallace told Fox News his job as a moderator is “to be as invisible as possible,” per The New York Times. However, audiences from both political parties appear to think he took that stance too far. “So far Wallace is not winning as moderator. Occasional valiant effort but not effective,” former NBC News executive, Mark Lukasiewicz, tweeted. He later added that Wallace “completely lost control.” Viral conservative Kaitlin Bennett agreed, tweeting, “Chris Wallace lost that debate.”
Although Wallace got commended for being able to keep control of the microphone during the last presidential election, he clearly had a hard time taking the reins this year. He argued with Trump many times, pleading with the president to let him ask a question before cutting in. However, Trump did not seem to back down. “I guess I’m debating you, not him (Biden), but that’s OK, I’m not surprised,” Trump complained, according to the NYT.
Wallace did not back down so easily, taking a brief pause during the debate to address Trump directly. “The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m appealing to you, sir, to do it,” he requested.
All we have to say is better luck to the next moderator on October 15.
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