The attacks by Donald Trump and his followers on the Fox News debate have raised a really important question:
What, exactly, is the role of moderators in a presidential debate?
Or to take a broader view: What is the role of journalists, period?
Many in the mainstream media, including such luminaries as Katie Couric, Andrea Mitchell and Jeff Greenfield, have praised the tough questioning by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace. Perhaps most striking was this piece by liberal New York Times columnist Frank Bruni:
“They took each of the 10 Republicans onstage to task. They held each of them to account. They made each address the most prominent blemishes on his record, the most profound apprehensions that voters feel about him, the greatest vulnerability that he has.
“It was riveting. It was admirable. It compels me to write a cluster of words I never imagined writing: hooray for Fox News.”