FOX News debate anchors knew they would have a record audience tune in to their Republican debate because of Donald Trump.
Then they all congratulated themselves for their debate antics.
And they opened the floodgates of hell on the candidates for future debates by liberal anchors.
They are shameless.
The anchors didn’t even ask a question on the Obama economy, the worst recovery since the Great Depression, until 73 minutes into the debate.
The FOX moderators won over Media Matters, who said, “The Fox News moderators appeared reasonable, effective, and pointed in their questions to the candidates.”
They must be very proud.
They didn’t want to appear conservative – so they unloaded a barrage of personal attacks.
The FOX debate hosts even prepared to have Trump escorted from stage.
The LA Times reported:
As they sorted and re-sorted questions, the unpredictability of real estate tycoon and reality-TV star Donald Trump was never far from their minds.
“I would say the level is about an eight on the concern meter because of the unknown,” Baier said.
Baier even had a “nuclear option” at the ready for Trump if he ignored all protocol.
The script — which Baier didn’t have to use — took a page from Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV show. It went like this: “Mr. Trump, in your business you have rules. You follow rules. We have rules on this stage. We don’t want to have to escort you to the elevator outside this boardroom.”
“We’re hoping we don’t have to use it,” Baier said later. “[But] we’re locked and loaded.”
For anyone embedded with the news team on debate day, it became clear that it wasn’t just the Republican hopefuls who would be on-stage this night — but also Fox News, widely seen as the network most friendly to conservatives. No one here wanted to appear as if they were pitching softballs.
“You can’t let them have that offramp” was Baier’s rule as they hone each line.
Indeed, when Kelly rehearsed a question for another candidate — delivered in the staccato style that adds to her reputation as a tenacious interrogator — a producer at the table said, “He’ll go berserk.” That’s a compliment for Kelly, who smiled.
For the individual anchors, the debate was also a chance to burnish their reputations. Kelly has emerged as the channel’s prime-time star. Wallace is a seasoned veteran of the Washington beat. Baier has perhaps the most to gain from the expanded national spotlight.