I’m just askin’…

Why is Gwen Ifill to be the moderator of the Palin-Biden VP debate?

Gwen Ifill has written a highly favorable book about Sen. Obama, Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama

The release of the book is 20 January. 

Does that date sound familiar?

He book release is timed to coincide with the January Presidential inauguration.

Gwen Ifill has a financial interest in Sen. Obama’s victory.

This is a conflict of interest, and she should step aside gracefully.

But let’s take this a bit deeper.

Who thought this was a good idea?

Perhaps because Gov. Palin is a woman, they wanted a female moderator.

Would questions be raised if Ann Coulter had been selected for her work on If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans

Not a media show host, you say?  Okay, how about Laura Ingraham… she has a show and writes books too.

No no… let’s leave the female angle aside, you insist.  They wouldn’t be that shallow.

Would questions be raised if, for example, Jerome Corsi, author of The Obama Nation, were chosen to be the moderator?

I’m just askin’…

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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28 Responses to I’m just askin’…

  1. Gomer says:

    Brick by brick, Father…

    the foundation of our republic is crumbling.

  2. RichR says:

    I wonder if PBS is worried that a white, male moderator who has to keep a woman or an African-American in line (ie, hold them to the rules) might look bad for their image. By choosing Ifill, they avoid that. It is really silly to see this paranoia in this day and age where people are told to treat everyone as equals, regardless of race or gender. If they were consistent, then it wouldn’t matter who moderated.

    Good questions, Fr.

  3. gsk says:

    God’s will in all things. The Holy Rosary is more powerful than Gwen Ifill and the illusory Obama Nation. Yes, this is one more outrageous things from the MSM, so we simply have to pray all the harder for this courageous Woman from Wasilla, that she bring her A Game Thursday night and that people of good will are disposed to recognise the sham for what it is. “Put not your faith in princes[ses],” even those with swanky book contracts–this should be an excellent lesson for those counting on Gwen.

    Let’s pray that Sarah sparkles!

  4. mpm says:

    As a long time viewer of the “News Hour” on PBS, and other PBS documentary programs
    I have to say that PBS is the public relations arm of the American Secular Humanist
    Project.

    Why is Jim Lehrer permitted to question the presidential candidates when he has
    been cheerleading the anti-Bush forces since the war in Iraq started? Why, when
    he declares on PBS “commercials” that “this is the single most important election
    in US History” for well more than a year now? More important than 1796, when Washington
    stepped aside? More important than 1800 when Jefferson was threatening “revolution”
    if he lost? More important than 1860? or 1876 for that matter? More important
    than 1932, or 1940?

    The “perspective” as they like to call it, of PBS, is very clear.

  5. gsk: This entry wasn’t intended to favor one candidate or another in the debate.

    I am asking questions about the MODERATRIX.

  6. mpm: I am pretty sure that all the possible moderators have their own preferences, agendas.

    However, this seems a particularly strong case of direct conflict of interest.

  7. TJM says:

    I agree with Father Z on this one, it is a conflict of interest for Ifell to be the moderator. She should be replaced by someone not so
    hopelessly in the tank for Obama. Can you imagine the media outrage if Obama or Biden were being faced with a Pat Buchanan as the
    moderator for their debates? The good news is that the media is tieing their credibility to this candidate. If elected, he will likely go down in flames, and the mainstream media will end up on the dustbin of history along with Communism. Could happen to a more deserving group. Tom

  8. Jerry Boyd says:

    It probably wouldn’t matter what network or which moderator. With very rare exception all of the so-called mainstream media have a strong liberal bias. This actually could play to Mrs. Palin’s advantage. If the moderator asks obviously slanted questions and Governor Palin handles them well (pray she does) her stature will be much greater than if softball questions were lobbed by a friendly moderator.

  9. gsk says:

    Mea culpa. Withdrawn.

  10. TJM: She should be replaced by someone not so hopelessly in the tank for Obama.

    Most of them are. But that is not my point.

    She has an a forthcoming BOOK which will do better if Obama succeeds.

  11. mpm says:

    “… this seems a particularly strong case of direct conflict of interest.”

    Yes, it does, and her publisher is….. Doubleday.

  12. PuxaXixon says:

    “…If elected, he will likely go down in flames,..”

    I wonder if…after being elected, will Obama land a month early for the Inauguration while towing a “Mission Accomplished” sign.

    [Off topic… and I will start locking people out if they drag this into a rabbit hole.]

  13. AJM says:

    Father, it’s rare, but once in a while I have to disagree with you. Today is one of those days! The book is not, as you write, “a highly favorable book about Sen. Obama.” The amazon link that you posted to it describes the book as something much more studious and – frankly – interesting:

    “Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, and also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation.”

    Point being, I’m not convinced such a book will do better if Obama wins. The sorts of people who will buy this book will be interested in the Obama phenomenon for historic reasons. How could someone like Obama rise so quickly? What was the political infrastructure that allowed it? Like it or not, his candidacy IS historic.

    Which is my way of countering your point that she’ll be biased on the basis of financial interests. I don’t think so.

    By the way – I’m sorry to read the anti-PBS anti-News Hour diatribes in the comment section. I’ve always found the program to be fair to conservatives. CNN, it’s not.

  14. Garrett says:

    I do agree that a moderator without an obvious bias should’ve been picked.

    But look at it this way: with the expectations so abysmally low for Palin, as long as she doesn’t start snake-handling or vomiting, she’ll win.

  15. AJM: Fair enough observations. I haven’t read it, since it isn’t released yet.

    It occurs to me that “the Age of Obama”, as the title of a book to be released on Inauguration Day might be designed to ride a wave.

    I am also pretty sure that a description on the amazon site, written by the publisher, is not going to say that the book is biased. Just a guess.

    But your points are well-expressed.

  16. Geoffrey says:

    I read about this on Drudge late last night. I am curious if any of the “mainstream” media and “talking heads” with discuss this today, and put pressure where pressure is needed. I have my doubts…

  17. CK says:

    Some more news here (w/ recent news that McCain’s campaign didn’t know about the book). [Interesting. That means that Ms. Ifill didn’t offer that information either.]

    From: http://gretawire.foxnews.com/2008/10/01/oh-oh-6/

    oh – oh !!
    by Greta Van Susteren October 1st, 2008 8:15 AM Eastern
    I confirmed for us here on GretaWire: the McCain campaign did NOT know about Gwen Ifill’s book (I think I told them when I made my efforts – emails about midnight – to find out!) I am stunned….the campaign (actually both) should have been told before the campaign agreed to have her moderate. It simply is not fair – in law, this would create a mistrial.

    and….
    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/09/unreal-pro-obama-partisan-gwen-ifell.html

    with this from its comment section!!:

    Palin should come out and in the opening niceties ask her how her book is coming along… What was the title of it again?

  18. Virgil says:

    Thank you, Fr Z, for trying to keep things non-partisan and related to things Catholic. (not sure you are succeeding, but please keep trying!) [I think many will say that I’m “trying”, but thanks!]

    It’s an interesting thought, the thought about vested interests and bias. But I prefer to think about the reason why Ifill may have been chosen.

    Her book is largely about Obama in the context of Black identity politics. This could make for some interesting questions, due to the “identity politics” portion of the book’s subject.

    Palin is “identity politics” on steroids, sort-of a triple-dipper:

    She’s a woman.

    She’s from the freaky non-church, ex-Catholic, mega-church fringe.

    She’s way up there near the Arctic Circle in the wild wild west.

    It could be interesting if Ifill works to examine these three whammies with some of the rigor with which she examined Obama.

  19. John Enright says:

    I don’t think it will matter much. Any blatant bias will be witnessed my millions of viewers, so she’s going to have to bend over backwards to show her “impartiality.”

  20. Fr. Guy says:

    I don’t want to play Devil’s Advocate too much here but apparently people’s memories are short. Gwen Iffil has not been chosen for the first time this year. She usually moderates one of the debates. In fact, I believe 4 years ago she moderated not only one of the debates but that it was also the VP debate. I think maybe the question should not be why was she chosen (because she usually is) but, perhaps, because of the book why wasn’t she passed over this time around?

  21. Florentius says:

    Worse, we have Catholic media outlets in this country posting things like this:

    I’m Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama

    More and more things around here are looking like scenes from Father Elijah.

  22. Tom Dowling says:

    Thanks to Fr. Blake for pointing out that Ifill moderated past debates. I think it’s worth keeping in mind that the McCain and Obama campaigns negotiate ever last aspect of the debates, from podium heights to *moderators*. Ifill wouldn’t have been chosen if the McCain campaign didn’t feel that they would get a fair shake from her. [Fair enough.] Now, I suppose, one could argue that they would have felt differently if they known about her book (though I think AJM’s post fairly points out that – aside from the title – there’s nothing spectacularly pro-Obama about it). [AJM’s post asserts that, but we don’t know that.]

    I don’t have strong feelings about Ifill in either direction, but I think it’s grossly unfair for people to be suggesting that she’s some kind of MSM-liberal tool on the basis of a book that nobody has read, instead of looking at the track record that made the McCain campaign feel comfortable about agreeing to her in the first place. I’ll put my cards on the table and state that I don’t think she’ll risk that good reputation to score points against Palin so that her book can sell better. [Fair enough.]

    There’s a whole lot of emotions involved in this campaign, and I feel them, too. But I really hope that we all could restrain ourselves from impugning people who have never shown themselves to be biased in the past. This really bothers me. [It bothers me too.]

  23. CK says:

    From: http://michellemalkin.com/2008/09/30/a-debate-%E2%80%9Cmoderator%E2%80%9D-in-the-tank-for-obama/

    Ask the Commission on Presidential Debates if she will acknowledge her conflict of interest: 202-872-1020.

    And here’s the e-mail address of Janet H. Brown, Executive Director of the Debates Commission: jb@debates.org

    An Ifill bias could be witnessed as well in her comments after the Palin convention speech. For some strange reason she felt that the Palin family was trying to compete with the Obama’s in the sweet family promotion category! Someone mentioned that this was not her first moderator chance…but certain snippy responses to Cheney in that prior one could also be red flags!

  24. Frank H says:

    From Fox News…

    McCain Says He Has No Problem With Gwen Ifill Moderating Debate

    “I think that Gwen Ifill is a professional, and I think she will do a totally objective job, because she is a highly-respected professional,” McCain said.

  25. David says:

    Sounds suspiciously like what Neal Boortz said on Oct. 1.

  26. chironomo says:

    Why not have the debates moderated by two moderators, one picked by each camp? Then you could have a Gwen Ifill/ Sean Hannity team moderating to ensure, at least, that there would be equal bias!

  27. Wendy Encinas says:

    Father, any comment on Palin’s abortion stance as stated to Couric last night?

    During last night’s interview segment with Couric, Palin stated “If you’re asking, though…should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not.” Apparently, she does not think that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, for how could something – abortion – be illegal, yet not punishable. Would the person do community service? Pay a fine?

    Now, she was talking of the person having the abortion, not the person performing the abortion. So, she and her supporters may try to split hairs, but she clearly said that those having an abortion should not be thrown in jail. Either something is against the law and punishable or it is not.

    If I take part in a robbery and my partner kills a person, I am also guilty of murder. For Palin, how can a person participate in abortion yet not face a punishment? I am perplexed by her position.

    I am perplexed that conservatives have not jumped on what she said last night. I see no difference in her position and Biden’s.

    [I had interesting discussions with very smart friends in the earlier days of the primaries – when talking about Guiliani and his promise to appoint constructionist justices – about questions like these: Should women who have abortions go to jail? No one really questions whether an adult who kills an innocent person should be punished severely, but most people will immediately recoil from saying that a woman must be punished severely for an abortion, prosecuted for murder. There is a disconnect suggesting that most people, even solidly pro-life people, really don’t think the unborn have the full rights born humans are automatically accorded. There is a obvious double-standard. Where does this double-standard come from? If people really think the unborn are human beings, why is there a double-standard when it comes to what many people quickly call by the same term “murder”? This sort of question shows how very deep are the dilemmas which still must be faced.]

  28. I raised some questions, but now I think I have enough comments here. Let’s close this down and move along.