“The debate could not happen with Scully as moderator, regardless of any other factor,” Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News Monday.
Scully, a host of C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” claimed last week that his Twitter account was hacked after a tweet from his account indicated he had reached out to outspoken Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci for advice.
While it appeared Scully thought he was sending a private message to Scaramucci, he insisted he did not originate the tweet. The hacker allegation was widely mocked and critics unearthed other instances where Sully made the same claim.
Scully’s credibility as an unbiased debate moderator was also questioned when it became known that he once served as an intern for then-Sen. Biden and served as a staffer for the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. During the 2016 campaign, Scully also shared a New York Times op-ed headlined, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.”
The tweet did not help Scully’s case that he could be a fair moderator, but the CPD stood by him in the aftermath of the incident. CPD co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf made the initial hacking claim on Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” Friday morning.
The debate commission stated it had “reported the apparent hack to the FBI and Twitter” as part of its investigation, but the CPD, FBI, C-SPAN and Twitter have all declined to provide details.
“Scully allegedly claims he was hacked, the burden is on him to prove it. Hopefully he hasn’t lied to the FBI about it, as that would be a crime. The CPD was in a tough position, with its moderator being exposed as partisan and possibly deceptive,” Jacobson said. “CPD’s precipitous actions in moving to a virtual format without consulting the campaigns, and then cancelling the debate, took Scully off the front pages, but destroyed CPD’s credibility.”
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that the commission “made a clumsy mistake in not fully vetting Scully’s background from the get-go” when he was selected to moderate.
“CPD’s precipitous actions… took Scully off the front pages, but destroyed CPD’s credibility.”
“That he served as an intern for Biden and a staffer for Ted Kennedy should have been enough to keep him out of the debate moderator role in the first place. There were surely many other potential moderators, including from C-SPAN, who would not have brought such background baggage,” McCall said.
On Thursday of last week, the CPD announced that the debate would be held in a virtual setting, but Trump promptly announced he wouldn’t participate in that format, calling it a “waste of time.”
“It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22,” the CPD said in a statement.
“This did serve to get Scully out of the line of fire, even though that might or might not have been the primary objective behind the decision,” McCall added. “It really is sad to see the CPD playing political football with the debate process. These debates are supposedly designed to inform the electorate.”
Both candidates have agreed to take part in the Oct. 22 debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., the commission said.
“The CPD loses once it becomes part of the news itself and that has clearly now happened for this election cycle, even if another debate or two eventually happens,” McCall said.
“This did serve to get Scully out of the line of fire, even though that might or might not have been the primary objective behind the decision.”
Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that the CPD is “absolutely broken” and “should be dismantled” because of the way it handled the now-scrapped event.
“They have failed at even the most basic execution of their responsibility. Without any medical evidence to support the move, the CPD declared the debate would be virtual. The moment that the President pushed back, the CPD cancelled the debate,” Barron said. “The American people deserve three in-person debates moderated by objective journalists. This shouldn’t be so difficult, but the CPD can’t even deliver on this most basic of expectations.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
News Source : Fox News