Presidential debate moderators, like NBC’s Lester Holt, are under scrutiny like never before.
NEW YORK ― For Lester Holt and his TV journalist colleagues who are
moderating the upcoming presidential debates, the opportunity to
question the future commander in chief in front of tens of millions of
viewers brings prestige ― and potential pitfalls.
The high-profile anchor selected will inevitably be part of the debate story. The fear is becoming the whole story.
This is the first time in recent memory that the moderator’s role has
come under such intense scrutiny in the weeks leading up to the first
presidential face-off. The pressure for network executives to make sure
their marquee journalists are up to speed has only increased after the widespreadcriticism
leveled at Matt Lauer, who moderated a presidential forum Wednesday
night. (The Commander-in-Chief forum, featuring Donald Trump and Hillary
Clinton, was widely seen as a dry run for the Sept. 26 main event.)