KURTZ: I understand that and I think it's the right approach, not making it about you, on the other hand, there is a lot on your shoulders, both in terms of the question selection, but also as they go at it, let’s say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, what do you do if they make assertions that you know to be untrue?While you should notice what Wallace says is not his job ("truth squading") you should also note what he thinks is his job - maintaining some semblance of equal time.
WALLACE: That's not my job. I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It's up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly am going to try to maintain some reasonable semblance of equal time. If one of them is filibustering, I'm going to try to break in respectfully and give the other person a chance to talk. But I want it to be about them -- I want it to be as much of a debate, people often talk that it’s simultaneous news conferences.
WALLACE: I want it to be as much of a debate as possible. Frankly, with these two and the way -- as Keith Jackson used to say about football rivals, these two just plain don't like each other. I suspect I'm not going to have any problem getting them to engage with each other, but I don't view my role as truth squading and I think that is a step too far. If people want to do it after the debate, fine, it’s not my role.
This is what's wrong with our political journalism - too many journalists (and people working at Fox "News") think that giving equal time to two opposing viewpoints is enough to establish an epistemologicallly accurate rendering of of reality - even if, it turns out, that one side is obviously wrong.
For example, given the above criteria, Chris Wallace would not challenge the truth value of these false (untrue, bogus, erroneous) Trump statements:
- [President Obama] doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t shown it.
- The birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008.
- Global Warming is a hoax.
- We should have never gone into Iraq. I’ve said it loud and clear. I was visited by people from the White House asking me to sort of, could I be silenced because I seem to get a disproportionate amount of publicity. I mean, I was very strong, though: ‘You’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’
- I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.
- Torture works.
Of course he'll give Hillary Clinton equal time to say, "No that's not true." and think he's done a good job.