Chris Wallace lost control of the Trump-Biden debate on a historically bad night of TV

10 Jan 2021

You can fairly say that the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday night was historic television — historically bad television, a smoking crater of absurdity that played like the reality TV show life seemingly has become.“That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said once it was over. “That was the worst debate I have ever seen. It wasn’t even a debate. It was a disgrace, and it’s primarily because of President Trump.”Liberal media bias? Not if you watched.Trump repeatedly — by which I mean almost constantly — interrupted Biden and the moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace. It got to the point that it seemed strange when Trump didn’t interrupt.Fox News' Chris Wallace lost control almost immediately“You wonder who won, who lost — we’re going to have a lot of analysis over the next few minutes,” Bret Baier said on Fox News. “But you wonder if America maybe lost on the substance of the heart of the issues and whether they really got to them over some of that back and forth.”No one who saw the debate wondered. Everyone who saw it knows: They didn’t get to the issues. It was a schoolyard slap fight with a bully having his way with the playground. There is no question that Americans lost, and lost big.Dana Bash, also on CNN, put it more succinctly.“It was a (expletive) show,” she said. (She’s on cable, Bash noted. She can say that.)Hillary Clinton, Dana Bash and media pundits weigh in on chaotic debateAt the center of it was Wallace, a strong interviewer who didn’t let Trump stand on lies and misleading statements in an earlier interview.On Tuesday night, Trump mowed him over.“Why don’t you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule, OK, sir?” Wallace asked Trump late in the debate, as the president again interrupted.“He never keeps his word,” Biden said.“That was a rhetorical question,” Wallace said.It was also a ridiculous one to even have to ask. Clearly Trump’s strategy was to talk and talk and talk, daring Wallace or Biden to stop him, goading Biden to get a rise out of him. And in that regard, it worked.5 takeaways from the slugfest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in ClevelandYes, Trump shouted out white supremacists“Will you shut up, man?” Biden finally said at one point, delivering what is almost certain to be the most-quoted line of the night.It shouldn’t be. On the actual news front, Wallace asked Trump if he would tell white supremacist and militia groups to stand down — something Trump has been criticized for not doing. He didn’t do that on Tuesday, either.Instead, he said this: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this isn’t a right wing-problem. This is a left-wing problem.”During anything approaching a normal debate, this would be stop-the-presses news, just jaw-dropping stuff. Tuesday night, it was another log on the chaotic fire.

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