Debate Moderator Chris Wallace’s Strange Question [OPINION]
The debate was awful. It was a terrible performance by all three, President Trump and the two guys he was debating: Vice President Joe Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.
But I want people to be able to see the subtle ways bias is integrated into the debate by the clever Wallace. Trump supporters were very concerned that Wallace, who has been very vocal in defending the merit of the impeachment and against the untoward demeanor of President Trump, would be unfairly biased in this debate.
I will point to several concerning things in my observations.
At one point in the debate, Wallace tried to pin down President Trump to make a definitive statement against white supremacists and white nationalist militias, probably for the purpose of sound bites. I myself don't believe he needs to be cornered to do this, since he has loudly and clearly condemned these types.
In the transcript, Wallace introduces a strange scenario that he implies is a fact. The participants of the riots in Portland, Oregon, and in Kenosha, Wisconsin are clearly left-wing Antifa and others lashing out at police brutality against Black citizens.
The politically motivated violence has expanded to lashing out at what the left has called "systemic racism" in America. The message has been clearly pronounced to end white oppression of people of color who have been repressed through economics, law enforcement, environmental injustice, history and symbolism.
So how has Wallace decided to flip the script and imply that white supremacists are burning police departments for their documented brutality against Blacks? Does he really believe white racists are looting, burning, hurting people and attacking the icons, symbols and historic monuments of the alleged white America oppression?
Chris Wallace: (41:33)
You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left-wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?
I thought the president's answer was lacking and I suspect I know why. He must have been confused and distracted by the question itself. He knows Wallace is looking to help Biden deliver the fatal blow by sucking him into issuing a bumper sticker response. But he also has to demonstrate that he understood the question and was willing to answer it.
President Donald J. Trump: (41:57)
Sure, I’m will(ing) to do that.
Are you prepared specifically to do it?
I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing not from the right-wing.
But what are you saying?
I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.
Well, do it, sir.
Vice President Joe Biden: (42:09)
Say it, do it, say it.
What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn.
White supremacist and right-wing militia.
Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing.
His own FBI Director said, unlike white supremacists, Antifa is an idea, not an organization-
Oh, you got to be kidding me.
… not a militia. That’s what his FBI Director said.
Well, then you know what, he’s wrong.
Chris Wallace: (42:42)
We’re done, sir. Moving onto the next…
What violence has the right wing been proven to be guilty of in either city?
Thirty-nine-year-old Aaron Danielson, a Patriot Prayer member and Trump supporter, was murdered in downtown Portland in early September by Michael Reinoehl, 48, a self-described Antifa supporter and who admitted to it before his death.
In Kenosha, I suppose Wallace is implying that 17-year-old Kyler Rittenhouse is a "right wing militia" member? I don't blame him for not naming him, as Rittenhouse's lawyers are the same ones who represented Nick Sandmann, the teen recently made super-rich thanks to mainstream media slandering him with lies.
Rittenhouse was documented to have shot four people during a riot, killing three of them. Despite him being charged with murder, each shooting on film appears to be clear self-defense.
There is no evidence of Rittenhouse belonging to any right-wing group or association. There is also not a shred of evidence that right-wing groups of any kind are lending to the violence in Kenosha.
Portland's mayor is throwing some wild, baseless accusations that shadowy white supremacists come out at night and destroy his city, but so far they haven't been able to arrest one.
It's because there aren't any doing these things.
That's not to say right-wing hate groups, neo-nazis, the KKK and others like them are innocent and good people. Trump has loudly, clearly condemned them all. Yeah, despite Biden's lies to the contrary and which were not confronted by Wallace – who did correct the record for Trump several times.
So, no, Joe Biden, Antifa is not an idea. Your remark was absurd and Wallace let you slide without challenging your characterization of them, to deflect having to condemn them. Not one follow-up question.
An idea doesn't go out in a near-uniform of black tactical clothing and armor and climb out of buses together before hurting or intimidating people in public. An idea doesn't design, pay for and publish a website that sends people to the donation page of the Campaign to Elect Joe Biden, either. An idea doesn't leave barrels of weapons around targeted government buildings, nor does an idea know where and how to find these stores of illegal arms to combat police.
Don't believe it? Click here: www.antifa.com.
Holding right-wing groups of being guilty of what is quite clearly left-wing groups in Portland and Kenosha (and elsewhere) makes about as much sense as blaming New York Yankees fans for cars being flipped over during a Red Sox World Series celebration outside of Fenway Park in Boston.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at email@example.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.