Gwen Ifill Should Not Moderate The Debate

As you probably know by now, Gwen Ifill, the debate moderator for the Vice Presidential Debate, has a financial interest in Barack Obama winning the election.

Ifill is the author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, a new book scheduled for release on Inauguration Day. Its Amazon.com promotional statement says, “In ‘The Breakthrough,’ veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.”

Ms. Ifill did not disclose her book deal to the McCain campaign before the campaign approved her selection as a debate moderator. Obviously this situation is unacceptable. Ms. Ifill has a financial incentive to do no harm to the Obama campaign and has an incentive to harm the McCain campaign in order to help Barack Obama.

If you are as concerned about this as I am, you can call Paula Kerger, the CEO of PBS at (703) 739-8619 and Sharon Rockefeller, the CEO of WETA in Washington, D.C. at (703) 998-2089 and ask them to have Ms. Ifill recuse herself or, if they refuse, insist that Ms. Ifill fully disclose her conflict of interest.

By the way, tonight Gwen Ifill is subtly raising the race card in this issue. Behold:

“Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, “I don’t know what it is. I find it curious.”

Maybe, just maybe it is her coverage thus far, including her end of the night coverage after Sarah Palin spoke at the Republican Convention and the title of her book. “The Age of Obama”?!? Yeah, that’s not hagiographic.