Early Debate Chaos Unveils Biden’s Confusion, Trump’s Dominance

CNN tried to give America a presidential debate, but what unfolded was more like a circus act starring a confused President Biden and a relentless Donald Trump. Despite comprehensive prep work from moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper—let’s face it, they could have stayed home for all the good they did—Biden’s fitness for office became the star of the show, igniting anxieties coast to coast. Even news anchors from traditionally liberal bastions like ABC and NBC couldn’t hide their dismay. Mary Bruce bluntly noted the disastrous stumble of Biden’s campaign, while Chuck Todd described a full-on panic.

This historic face-off, touted as the earliest general election debate ever, was more like an extended infomercial for Trump’s border policies and NATO rants, thanks to Tapper and Bash’s “softball” moderation. They tossed out questions on critical topics like the opioid crisis and climate change, only to watch as their queries went ignored. When Tapper reminded Trump to stick to the point about addiction treatment, Trump pivoted to border security and Putin. Though his style may be unorthodox, Trump at least communicated strength and control—qualities the current administration sorely lacks.

As for Biden, he delivered the same tired lines, leaving even the moderators scrambling to rephrase questions to extract substantive answers. Black voters looking for progress updates listened to rote recitations of minor program updates. Bash repeatedly had to ask Trump about election result acceptance, while Biden dodged fundamental concerns about his presidency.

CNN seemed to forget the critical role of a moderator isn’t just to ask questions but to ensure they get answered—especially when one candidate has a track record of dodging like a seasoned politician. CBS’s Gayle King observed that the lack of live fact-checking worked in Trump’s favor, making his answers appear coherent to the uninformed. CNN’s Daniel Dale peppered social media with fact-checks, but unless viewers were dual-screening, his efforts were all but invisible.

The network was also criticized pre-debate for not allowing a pool reporter behind the scenes, raising questions about transparency. Even MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow—a name synonymous with liberal critique—admitted Tapper and Bash were under nuclear-hot scrutiny, but that didn’t stop the moderators from dropping the ball.

Numbers tell the story: the first Trump-Biden debate in 2020 grabbed 73 million viewers, and the second held 63 million eyeballs. This time, CNN dared to hold this spectacle much earlier but failed to offer anything beyond the predictable. The headlines? Predictably deflated: “Biden Struggles, Trump Deflects Questions.” Once again, Trump showed he could swim in the chaos, but Biden appeared more out of touch than ever—a troubling sign for the Democrats heading into 2024

Written by Staff Reports

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