"A debate does not lose control of itself," says James Poniewozik of CBS News' disastrous Democratic debate Tuesday. "It’s a team effort, and the dubious MVPs of this one were the CBS moderators, led by Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King, who got flat-out mugged. Ms. O’Donnell and Ms. King can be skilled at one-on-one interviews, but there’s a special art to moderating. You can ruin a debate just as well by overpolicing it, and sometimes it’s best to let the arguments flow. The Nevada debate last week was fiery but engaging, as Senator Elizabeth Warren flayed Mr. Bloomberg in his first debate and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar exchanged sharp, personal barbs. But when a fight turns into a stampede, moderators need to make the debate coherent for the audience or guide it with productive questions. CBS’s crew wasn’t equipped to do either. Several of their early questions amounted to: That thing you said at the last debate, would you say it again? The coronavirus outbreak — a perfect opportunity to ask candidates how they’d govern in a crisis differently from the current administration — didn’t come up as a question until the second hour. They closed by asking the candidates for a personal motto and the biggest misconception about them, a.k.a., 'Please root through your stump speech for an inspirational yearbook nugget.'"
TOPICS: CBS News, CBS, Gayle King, Joy Behar, Michael Bloomberg, Norah O'Donnell, 2020 Presidential Election