So last night I endured the “presidential” debate, which was as disappointing as I’d feared. Biden had a pulse - which was his main hurdle to clear - and Trump decided to go for broke on the aggression front. The president had nothing to lose in one sense since he’s significantly behind in the polls, but by interrupting constantly he didn’t give Biden the chance to make his own noose.
But it’s certainly not in Trump’s nature to have a passive approach where you let your enemy die of his own accord rather than through your agency. Harder to take credit that way and Trump is nothing if not a “credit man”. So it was pretty much a done deal and went down the way it had to.
But it was a dismal show in part because Chris Wallace, supposedly of Fox News, curtsied before the liberal colleague courtiers at ABC/NBC/NYT/etc in his coddling of Biden. No elder abuse by Sir Wallace! Trump had to talk about his leaked taxes while Biden got a pass on potential sinecures for his son Hunter.
It seems to me Wallace is particularly keen on alternately displaying Beltway shallowness or liberal bias, exemplified by his woebegone initial questions:
1. Should Trump be nominating a justice this late in an election cycle? (Teenage girl silliness, another example of Wallace's capture by D.C. gossip and hysterics. “Oh, how dare Trump exercise the presidency all four years of his term!”)
2. Obamacare, climate change, race. (Lefties cheer! By choosing the questions you’re revealing your bias, your priorities.)
3. Covid-19, "why should Americans trust you?” (Legit, I suppose, although it gives off the conceit that the president is a god who can repeal and replace natural disasters.)
4. Crowd sizes at Trump campaign events as potential covid-spread. (Boring! That ship sailed when protests were given the green light.)
5. Chris asks about the difference between a V-shaped recovery and a “K-shaped” one. (Really? The dirty little secret is the economy is not something the president controls since we have a capitalistic system with something called “business cycles” and not a Communist command and control economy.)
6. Trump taxes, whereupon the Donald is asked if he only paid $750 last year. (Ad nauseam, another example of Wallace’s teenage girl shallowness, of being titilated by the fact that the tax code is stupid and trying to pin it on Trump.)
The news division (not just opinion) of Fox News was intended and marketed to be the counter to PBS/NBC/ABC/CBS etc..., i.e. the fair and balanced alternative to slanted news. And so it was - for awhile. By 2003, the pressure to present a more palatable face to liberal elites was enough to prompt the hire of Wallace who came from a 25+ year background in liberal news (Boston Globe/NBC/ABC) and was formed by those institutions.
There’s an interesting parallel to this in justices on the Supreme Court where GOP-appointed justices are “supposed” to play it straight but there’s this ineluctable pull to the Left created by the hothouses of D.C. or New York. And Wallace reminds me a bit of John Roberts, as far as being more interested in his reputation and that of his institution than in fairness.