Wash. U. to get an 'Ifill' at VP Debate

Gwen Ifill, a correspondent for PBS and host of "Washington Week," will moderate the Vice-Presidential debate between Delaware Senator Joe Biden and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on October 2 at Washington University.

Ifill is an old hand at this sort of thing: She moderated the 2004 debate between South Carolina Senator John Edwards and Vice President Dick Cheney.

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Ifill, incidentally, will be the only debate moderator this year who is neither white nor male nor eligible to collect Social Security. But, since we’re all beyond identity politics now, that is neither here nor there.

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(McCain - Palin Slide Show, 8/31/08)

Moving on… Some PBS viewers grew concerned, after watching Ifill’s coverage of the Republican National Convention this week, that Ifill is hopelessly biased in favor of the Democrats and wrote to the PBS ombudsman Michael Getler to complain.

"I was appalled by Gwen Ifill’s commentary directly following Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech. Her attitude was dismissive and the look on her face was one of disgust," groused Brian Meyers of Granby, Connecticut. "It is quite obvious that Ms. Ifill supports Obama as she struggled to say anything redemptive about Gov. Palin’s performance."

"I am shocked at questioning by Gwen Ifill on the 'MacNeil/Lehrer Report' about whether Sarah Palin can be both a VP and a mother," added Dennis Hughes of St. Petersburg, Florida. "That question is so far out of line it's in the stratosphere."

Ifill claims that she is able to maintain her journalistic objectivity.

"I still don’t know if [Obama]’ll be a good president," she told the Washington Post. "I'm still capable of looking at his pros and cons in a political sense. No one’s ever assumed a white reporter can’t cover a white candidate."

Yeah, but can a Washington insider be impartial toward a humble Alaska hockey mom?

-Aimee Levitt


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