Brian Stelter: Voters criticizing debate moderators upset over disappointment with Biden

Former CNN anchor Brian Stelter said voters who are criticizing the moderators from Thursday’s debate for not fact-checking are just “disappointed” and “frustrated” with President Joe Biden’s performance.

“Why are these people complaining about it today,” Stelter said during a Friday appearance on NewsNation, “They’re ticked off by Biden, they’re disappointed by Biden — they’re frustrated by how poorly he did,” he argued, referring to President Biden’s debate performance Thursday.

“So they are trying to blame the media,” he added.

Stelter was responding to criticisms that debate moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper should have pushed back on certain statements candidates made Thursday night by fact-checking Biden and former President Donald Trump.

“Philosophically,” Stelter agreed moderators should fact-check, but “as a practical matter” in a live 90-minute debate, it would be “almost impossible,” he said during the appearance on “Dan Abrams Live.”

“There should be live fact-checking philosophically. But as a practical matter, it’s almost impossible when you have these two men on stage who all want to talk, they all want their turns — to interrupt constantly, to try to point out their flaws and mistakes, it’s almost impossible for those moderators.”

Stelter argued that viewers learned a lot about the candidates because the moderators “sat back” and “allowed the actual debate to happen,” which gave President Biden and former President Donald Trump “the space to actually say what they wanted to say.”

Abrams pointed to suggestions CNN could have displayed its online real-time fact-checker on the same screen as the debate.

Stelter said he heard those suggestions and thought about them earlier, but the strategy wouldn’t have worked.

“I think that by the time that fact-check would appear on TV, the candidates have moved on to the next point,” Stelter said.

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