Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Public Interest

After President Trump said he would not take part in a virtual debate with former Vice President Biden (a debate which would have taken place tonight), the event was cancelled by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In place of the debate, Mr. Biden scheduled a Town Hall telecast with ABC News, which will air tonight at 8 o'clock, from Philadelphia.  The program's moderator will be George Stephanopoulos, and will be seen for 90 minutes.

NBC announced yesterday that Mr. Trump will also take part in a Town Hall meeting tonight.  It will begin--like the Biden telecast--at 8 o'clock.  The NBC program, airing from Miami, will be moderated by Savannah Guthrie, and will last an hour. 

NBC's decision--to air its telecast opposite ABC's--is a bad one.  At this stage of the campaign--less than three weeks before Election Day--voters should not have to choose which broadcast to watch. The network surely could have scheduled the forum with Mr. Trump at a different hour, or day.  NBC's programming decision does not serve the public interest, and has--justifiably--received much criticism (including from within the network).