Chris Wallace's Debate Performance Was Absolutely Disgraceful

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

 

When Chris Wallace said yesterday that he wanted to be “invisible” at last night’s first Presidential Debate, I knew that was a promise he wasn’t going to keep. His animosity toward Trump is no secret. It’s also no secret that he’s been very friendly with Joe Biden, even as Biden has spit in his face and refused to grant an interview.

The debate was about what you would expect. Trump was overly aggressive while Biden lied and relied on the moderator to save him continuously. That wasn’t supposed to happen. This was Fox News, and Chris Wallace is supposed to be a serious newsman. He was anything but that, though.

As the night wore on, Wallace grew more and more hostile, refusing to let Trump answer questions at times, asking slanted questions that benefitted Biden, and not bringing up topics that would have been beneficial to the President. At one point, Wallace even joked with Biden about Trump supposedly ranting, which was really just Trump trying to answer a question, in what was one of the most unprofessional displays by a moderator I’ve seen.

Here’s some more of the play by play to give you an idea if you didn’t watch it yourself.

One of the worst moments of the night was Chris Wallace pretending as if he doesn’t know what Critical Race Theory is and trying to needle Trump for opposing it.

But perhaps the biggest abdication of Wallace’s duty involved the very beginning of the debate. Biden was asked if he supports packing the court, one of the most damaging, consequential possibilities in modern American history. When Biden refused to answer the question, Wallace simply moved on.  When Trump tried to press, Biden told him to shut up and Wallace just let it happen. It was astonishing to watch.

There are many more examples to give. When they talked about the California fires later in the debate, Trump gave the scientific answer that it was due to bad forest management, not some sudden, tiny shift in temperature that magically starts fires. Instead of letting him finish, Wallace interrupted and tried to chastise Trump.

Before that, though, Wallace refused to have a discussion on why Biden’s son got a $3.5M wire transfer from a Russian oligarch’s wife. Trump tried to bring it up multiple times and the Fox News anchor simply refused, repeatedly changing the subject.

You got that? Bringing up white supremacy for the 100th time was worthy of a full segment, but talking about one of the biggest political scandals in recent memory is something that they needed to move on from before Biden was made to answer.

As to Fox News itself, they don’t deserve any leeway here. They could have chosen someone like Bret Baier, who has repeatedly shown himself to be a fair moderator. Instead, they went with a known hack like Wallace, who may not always be predisposed to oppose Republicans in general, but has clearly shown his disdain and hate for Donald Trump over the years.

To be clear, I don’t say any of this in this article because I think Trump “lost.” I actually think he got some good punches in and held his own in a two-on-one fight. But it shouldn’t have to be that way.

I’ll end with this comment, because I think it perfectly encapsulates the awful job Wallace did.

At some point, Republicans are going to have to get wise to the game and stop playing it.

(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)