In an interview moments ago on Fox News, Mike McCurry, the co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), sounded a bit like a cable executive in describing how the debates should come off to viewers. They should be both “informing and entertaining,” McCurry told Fox News host Neil Cavuto.
The last session, a town hall affair at Hofstra University, clearly fulfilled the latter function. The one-on-one game between Mitt Romney and President Obama, the fact-checking intervention by moderator Candy Crowley, the rules-violating applause from the audience — it all made for killer television. As for the informative part? Well, the session left hazy a number of details about Benghazi, including how the administration handled the response and how Romney sort of fumbled an issue on which he had plenty of facts on his side.
Following the debate last week, Crowley had a simple defense for why she extemporaneously fact-checked Romney and his controversial contention about Obama’s statements about Benghazi.
“It didn’t come to me as I’m going to fact check that. It came to me as let’s get past this . . . To me I was really trying to move the conversation along . . . This is a semantic thing.”
That’s what Crowley told the individuals of ABC’s “The View.”
And it’s precisely the defense advanced on Fox News by McCurry, who noted the need for the conversation to move on. “Her job is to facilitate a discussion,” he said.