ABC chose a debate moderator who hates Trump

 

Before the third presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe two infectious diseases spreading across America Former Clinton staffers invited to celebrate Sanders dropping out: report Sanders exit leaves deep disappointment on left MORE in October 2016, Fox News anchor Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallacePublic health officials warn of grim days ahead: 'This next week is going to look bad' Whitmer: Lack of national coronavirus strategy 'creating a more porous situation' Bill Gates: Coronavirus numbers will likely plateau by month's end if we quarantine 'well enough' MORE said, "If people say, 'it was a great debate and I don't remember you being there,' I will have done my job.”

"The most important advice I can give to a moderator is this: Remember that nobody goes to a ballgame to watch the umpire," said former CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, who moderated presidential debates in 2004, 2008 and 2012. "We’re not electing a national moderator; we’re electing a president. If you keep that in mind, the whole thing gets easier."

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Unfortunately, in the minds of those making the big decisions around who gets to moderate presidential debates these days, the sentiment of staying impartial and largely invisible coming from pros like Wallace and Schieffer no longer exists. That’s clear from the decisions made by NBC, CNN and ABC regarding their choice of debate moderators for this year's primary debates thus far. 

In June, NBC/MSNBC decided it was an excellent idea to have Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowOvernight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal States battle each other for equipment in supply chain crunch Pelosi: Next round of coronavirus relief will top trillion MORE, a partisan opinion host, serve as a moderator for its two-night event in Miami. You may recall the network caught considerable blowback in 2016 for its decision to do the same for a debate between Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump says Obama knows 'something that you don't know' about Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders exits, clearing Biden's path to nomination Former Clinton staffers invited to celebrate Sanders dropping out: report MORE (I-Vt.) after Maddow went on stage and hugged each of the candidates — with the cameras still rolling and millions watching at home.

If you ever had curiosity around what the apocalypse will look like, try to imagine a world where Fox's Martha MacCallum went up on stage and hugged President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE. Or attempt to picture Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans with COVID-19 immunity may lead US back to work Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Trump hits Biden for suggesting virus may force Democrats to hold virtual convention MORE being tapped by Fox to moderate a GOP presidential debate. And then try to imagine the reaction. It's downright cataclysmic. 

In July, it was more of the same from CNN after Don LemonDon Carlton LemonTrump: 100 ventilators 'immediately' being sent to Colorado Megyn Kelly rips Don Lemon over Trump criticism: CNN 'still pretends he is an objective news anchor' News programs, game shows see spike in viewers amid pandemic MORE, arguably the most anti-Trump of the network's anchors, was called upon to moderate the network's Democratic debates from Detroit. And on cue, Lemon proceeded to call the president a racist, as he does on his program on a nightly basis.

Now we come to September, where ABC gets its shot. Among its roster of reporters is Jonathan Karl, who currently serves as head of the White House Correspondents Association. But Karl was passed over for Jorge Ramos of Univision. 

As you're likely aware, Ramos is not impartial. He's an opinion-maker, particularly on immigration — and an activist. This 2015 Washington Post feature says it all in the headline, "Jorge Ramos: Part journalist, part activist, and now full-on Trump combatant.

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In 2016, Ramos wrote an essay in Time that notes, “It doesn’t matter who you are — a journalist, a politician or a voter — we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.”  

Or just take Ramos' word for it in his 2018 book "Stranger."

"I’m completely convinced that on certain issues you have to take a stand. You can’t remain neutral. ... I’m an immigrant and immigrants are under attack. I cannot remain silent," he wrote. 

Contrast Ramos's words with Jim Lehrer, 12-time presidential debate moderator in 2016: "The moderator is not there to show off how smart, or tough he or she is. The more a moderator can stay out of it and facilitate the discussion between the candidates, the better off everybody is going to be." 

ABC News knows who Jorge Ramos is. They know he'll be partisan during its nationally-televised Democratic debates next month. He'll likely speak of Trump in the most prejudiced manner possible. His questions regarding border security, ICE and law enforcement will likely be skewed. He'll likely use the stage in an attempt to make himself the story. 
Perhaps ABC just doesn’t care.

Because in a world where opinion is increasingly presented as fact, the sentiment shared by the truly accomplished like Wallace, Schieffer and Lehrer is sadly becoming increasingly extinct. 

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill and co-host of "WOR Tonight with Joe Concha" weeknights on 710-WOR in New York. Follow Concha on Twitter @JoeConchaTV.