|CNBC debate moderators Quintanilla, Quick, and Harwood|
CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla and his two colleagues Becky Quick and John Harwood have been widely criticized about their handling of the debate. I agree that they lost control at times, that when challenged by some of the candidates they did not always seem to have their facts at their fingertips, and that some of their questions were less likely to evoke a good debate on the issues.
Most of the blame for the debacle, however, should be directed not at the moderators but at the candidates, who evaded the questions, impugned the motives of the questioners, and played to the audience by attacking the network, the “liberal” media, and the moderators themselves. They complained that they were asked “gotcha” questions that had nothing to do with the issues, and contrasted them to what they described as the non-threatening kinds of questions asked of the Democratic candidates in their first debate. Anyone who watched that debate knows that charge is utterly false. Anderson Cooper and his CNN colleagues minced no words at all, and the responses and the interchange were substantive, though one candidate wasted time by complaining about not getting equal time.