POLITICS

PBS CEO doesn’t defend Jim Lehrer’s debate moderating

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

PBS CEO Paula Kerger refused to defend PBS host Jim Lehrer’s debate performance, even failing to push back against the idea that Lehrer is too old and too white for the job.

“It was a very complicated debate structure, and you saw that I think in the debate last night,” Kerger said yesterday on CNN when asked to evaluate Lehrer.

CNN’s Carol Costello then asked whether Lehrer should have had the job in the first place. “There was criticism when Jim Lehrer was initially named to be a moderator. People said: ‘oh, another white guy; he’s too old to be doing this; we live in a new world — we don’t need an old-fashioned journalist doing these things any longer.’”

Kerger let that slide. “Again, I think that it was a complicated structure for the debate,” she said.

Known as “the dean of moderators,” Lehrer has literally written the book on presidential debates.

Lehrer stuck up for himself, even if his boss wouldn’t. “Based on what the goal was, I saw it as successful,” Lehrer said in an interview with Politico. “I’ve always said this and finally I had a chance to demonstrate it: The moderator should be seen little and heard even less. It is up to the candidates to ask the follow-up questions and challenge one another.”

 

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