(ATTN)–The third and final 2016 Presidential debate has played out. For the first thirty minutes or so, Donald Trump actually contained himself—not necessarily in a presidential way—but, given a very low bar of expectations, he wasn’t acting like his usual self.
But, it’s difficult—especially for a man in his seventies, with a life-long demeanor of being, well, who he is—to change his very nature and to take on a new persona. And it is this persona to which I refer that reared its ugly (and orange) head once again for the remainder of his performance.
I know who won this one.
That’s not to say Hillary didn’t come unprepared with some pointed attacks—and some zingers—of her own this time. By far, this last debate was her best performance of them all. And, for that matter, it was Trump’s best as well.
Clinton, unexpectedly, thrashed The Donald pretty good this time around. His effort to “look presidential” in this last debate caused him to back off “the usual” and rely only on his half-witted, playground bully, snide remarks (“wrong!” “you’re the puppet!”).
And why not? The vast vault of available topics on which she could rely to skewer Hair Trumpenfuhrer is a list unmatched in modern political history. As expected, the Republican morons touted how well he did and by how much their talking orangutan won this contentious contest.
The real player here.
Unbeknownst to the audience—and even most of the media—watching this display of gladiators duking it out on stage, there was only one, completely disguised warrior vying for the lead in the big war—the media war. And that player was moderator Chris Wallace of Fox “News.”
While the world was watching the Trump/Clinton show, I was astonished to see Wallace behaving like a real journalist—with one exception. Yes, he seemed to be doing a decent job of moderating. And he has received kudos from both sides and other media people on the day after.
But, I am a long term viewer of Fox “News” (keep your enemies closer!) and what I see was a right-wing biased nutjob employed by the GOP promotional cable network acting like a real journalist—instead of the usual way he performs Republican propaganda at his everyday job on Fox.
First time for everything!
This was the very first time a Fox News anchor was allowed to moderate a presidential debate—ever (they’ve had moderators in primary debates but, never in a national, general election debate).
And Wallace—son of the consummate investigative 60 Minutes reporter, the late Mike Wallace—walked a very thin line between keeping the nutcase audience on Fox happy with him and in appearing to the world that he and Fox still have some journalistic integrity.
But, seek and ye shall find. And I counted zero times that Trump was cut off mid-sentence and eight times when Wallace cut off Clinton. The appearance of being a non-combatant was there but, the substance of fairness was not. Although—to my amazement and amusement—Wallace did pursue Trump on the obvious (previous outrageous claims on video) and he did pursue Clinton on her foibles (emails, essentially).
But, giving away his true stripes, Wallace would stop short of the grilling that other moderators have launched, in previous debates, when their questions were thwarted by inaccuracies or just plain bullshit.
And even though Wallace had announced, previously, that he would not be a real-time fact-checker during this debate, he certainly wasn’t the model news man in chasing after honest answers to important questions of the day.
This broadcast was truly a chance for Wallace as the surrogate for Fox “News” to convince the nation that his brand of journalism is of the same caliber as the rest of the “mainstream media.” I am not falling for it, myself. I’ve had way too much experience in reliable and responsible news reporting to drink that Kool Aid.
But, I will give Wallace five stars for doing his best to convince us that he and his cable network are more than just a marketing slogan (“fair and balanced”) with his own, highly polished debate power play!
And that’s the news.