PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES—IF YOU GET RID OF THE MODERATOR, THERE WOULD BE NO MORE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE QUESTIONS. After the most recent Republican Presidential debate, there have been a number of criticisms of the moderators and the questions they asked. Some of the issues could be dealt with by ruling out questions that would not be allowed on direct examination in a court room—more than one question at a time questions at a time, ambiguous questions, compound questions. Other questions are inappropriate for the format—long questions with a very short time to answer and questions which relate to only one of nine candidates. And in all three debates, the candidate who got the least time to talk has rightly complained.
All of these problems could be solved by adopting the reform I have been advocating since 1981 and have posted on several times since I posted here in 2007. Get rid of the moderator. There were three (!) moderators for the recent debate for no earthly reason. High school and college debates operate without moderators. I said in 2007: “The [current] format makes the members of the press appearing on the show almost as important as the candidates.” And that is, of course, why we have moderators.