His narcissistic synapses firing at warp speed, Fox newsman Chris Wallace could not stop himself from ruining the American people’s opportunity to hear from President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020’s first presidential debate yesterday evening. All the chatter on this “morning after” is about Trump interrupting his challenger. Really? Wallace spent the entire 96 minutes of the debate adding to the melee instead of tamping down the rebellion. Such as it is, his performance as a moderator provided a textbook case on what not to do.
At its core, a moderator plays the role of a parent. He or she needs to do just a few things to keep the kids from starting a brawl on the playground:
- Let the two figure things out themselves.
- Intervene ONLY when absolutely necessary.
- NEVER take sides.
- Remember, it’s not about you.
The Fox newsman violated every single one of these good parenting rubrics. Is it any wonder his children were so ill-behaved?
Mr. Wallace – Please Shut Up
Why did Wallace keep interjecting himself and shouting over the candidates? Why didn’t he merely zip his lip and let the two have at it? (Hint: Find the answer in the first words of this article.) A lousy parent takes a messy situation and makes it worse – and that is precisely what Wallace did. At all costs, he had to maintain control, and the American people suffered because we could not hear either candidate over Wallace’s near-constant chiding.
Chris Wallace almost immediately abdicated his role as the parent and jumped onto the playground with the two boys. He needed to show all of America that the little kid can beat up the bully and the foul-mouthed weasel. This so-called esteemed journalist was totally incapable of letting the two figure things out themselves. He had to make himself the center of attention.
This parent-martyr complex includes acting as the overwhelmed parent who cannot control his unruly children. We were supposed to empathize with his difficulty over reigning in these two boys – especially the younger one who he felt the need to chastise repeatedly. But the real culprit here – as is typical in dysfunctional families – is not the child but rather the screwed-up parent.
Taking sides is a classic example of how not to be the adult in the room. In this, Wallace excelled. Liberty Nation’s Joe Schaeffer astutely observed:
“Lest he had any remaining shreds of professional reputation still left, Wallace allowed himself one last moment to immolate them during this last portion of the debate. ‘I can’t remember which of all his rantings it was,’ Biden mockingly said of Trump’s final question to him. ‘I’m having a little trouble myself,’ Wallace cackled.”
Then there’s the lack of understanding which of your kids really needs the time-out corner. The out-of-touch parent always blames the bully – in this case, Mr. Trump – while missing the real instigator of the argument: the foul-mouthed kid. Calling the president a “clown,” a “racist,” and “Putin’s puppy” and then having the gall to say, “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential,” Biden proved himself to be the wily Eddie Haskell in Leave it to Beaver.
But Wallace is no Ward Cleaver. He was not even remotely up to the job of seeing the macro picture. And why? Because it’s always all about him. The real culprit in this national disgrace of a debate is not the kids, but the psycho parent who is so narcissistic he must always be center stage.
Let’s hope America learned its lesson and never again will Mini-Mike, the insecure shell of his father, take the stage as a moderator of a nationally televised debate.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.