Media watchdog Brent Bozell tells Newsmax that CNN’s Candy Crowley did a “disgraceful” job moderating Tuesday night’s presidential debate by intruding on the discussion between the candidates.
He also refutes assertions in the press that Mitt Romney and President Obama were “equally rude” to each other, charging that Obama “got right into Romney’s face” several times.
Bozell is the president and founder of the Media Research Center. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, he says Crowley deserves an “F” grade as moderator and was out of line when she contradicted Romney’s statement that Obama had not referred to the attack on American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya, as an act of terror the day after the attack.
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“What Candy Crowley did last night was disgraceful,” Bozell declares.
“There has been a lot of discussion about other debates and other moderators, how they performed, but they didn’t do what she did.
“It’s not your job as a moderator to play judge. She played referee last night. She passed judgment on an answer that Mitt Romney had given. This is something the American public is supposed to do.”
Bozell was asked how he reacted when Crowley actually told Romney to sit down, and if he knows how many times she interrupted Romney in comparison to the president.
“We’re doing that analysis right now so I can’t give you the accurate number, but I was disappointed in watching the Fox analysis last night to hear both Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, who have otherwise done a terrific job, say [the candidates] were equally rude to each other. That’s not true.
“Look at the video. Barack Obama was constantly interrupting. He actually got up and got right into Gov. Romney’s face on things. I don’t recall Romney once getting up and getting into Obama’s face. So she enabled that as well by telling Mitt Romney to stop talking and sit down.
“I loved it when she said an hour into the debate to Gov. Romney, ‘You didn’t answer the question that was asked.’ Well, Barack Obama had gone for an hour not answering questions he was asked. She let him get away with it and she beat up Mitt Romney.
“Like I said, this was a disgraceful performance. Candy Crowley doesn’t have this history. Candy Crowley is not somebody who’s on a short list of being biased. So it was a monumental disappointment that she would capture that Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame and do what she did last night.”
According to the Media Research Center, journalists favor liberal questions at town hall type debates by a 2-to-1 margin. Did the questions last night favor the president? Bozell was asked.
“It was supposed to be half foreign policy, half economic policy,” he says. “There was one question on Libya, which is a hugely important issue, but there are plenty of other foreign policy issues. One question. One question only and she cut Mitt Romney off. So she controlled the questions. Is there a bias there? Well, does the sun set in the west?”
He adds: “I’ve got to tell you that I’m not going to let the Republicans off the hook on this. Every four years, we have the gnashing of teeth and the beating of breasts by Republican leaders. ‘Look how the moderators behaved.’
“In fact, it was the Republicans who chose those moderators or who allowed those moderators. And then liberals behave like liberals and they say, ‘Oh my goodness, did you see how he behaved like a liberal?’ Republicans are partially responsible for this one and they’ve complained but only to an extent because they were the ones who allowed her. So I don’t get them off the hook.”
But is it even possible to find an impartial moderator in the mainstream media? he was also asked.
“It can be done,” Bozell tells Newsmax. “You can get people like Chris Wallace. Chris Wallace is no conservative. Chris Wallace is no conservative activist. Chris Wallace does his level best. He can be as impartial as he can be. You can be a liberal and be impartial in a debate.
“The late great Tim Russert could have been fine in my book. He was a liberal but he went out of his way to be fair. Do you know how easy it is to do this? Ask the right question and just shut up.
“You’re just supposed to be fair with your question and shut up. That’s what [Crowley] should have done last night. So there are plenty of people you could get who are dedicated to the proposition that if I’m the moderator, I ask the question and I get out of the way.
“There was a lot of talk about how Jim Lehrer lost control of the [first] debate. I don’t believe that was the case at all. He was wonderful. He did a good job, and he’s a liberal.”
As for how the media covered the debate in Wednesday’s morning news, Bozell observes: “It’s spin, spin, spin.
“When Obama clearly lost the first debate, the spin was that the altitude was very high, that he was very tired, that he was too focused on foreign events – every excuse possible.
“Style and performance were an issue but it wasn’t the important issue. The important issue was substance. Mitt Romney had substance. Where last night was concerned, the style was very well done by Barack Obama. Very well done. But the substance wasn’t there again. You’re not going to have anyone in the press report it that way.”
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