ABC's Martha Raddatz: Too biased to moderate the VP debate?

The Week's Editorial Staff
The Week
Martha Raddatz, the ABC News reporter serving as moderator of the vice presidential debate, has been put under the microscope by partisan forces who believe she's too closely connected to President Obama to fairly fulfill her task on Thursday.

The Daily Caller reveals that Obama attended Raddatz's 1991 wedding, suggesting that the connection means she can't be trusted to referee Thursday's face-off

Conservatives cried foul ahead of Thursday's potentially crucial vice-presidential debate, after The Daily Caller reported that President Obama attended the 1991 wedding of the moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz. Obama attended Harvard Law School with the groom, Julius Genachowski, and later appointed him to head the Federal Communications Commission. ABC News said it was "absurd" to suggest that Raddatz, a "tough, fair" reporter, would be biased because Obama worked with her now ex-husband, and attended the wedding along with other members of the Harvard Law Review, including some future members of the Bush administration. Is it wrong to let Raddatz moderate the debate — or is it unfair to question her objectivity?

The Daily Caller is embarrassing itself: "Trying to smear" Raddatz over this is shameful, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. First, conservatives badmouthed both Raddatz and the Commission on Presidential Debates, which selected her, by complaining that Genachowski, whom Raddatz divorced in 1997, would go on to serve in Obama's administration more than a decade later. Now their wedding day "apparently matters. Raddatz's remarkable career as a war correspondent of great courage and integrity doesn't." How sad.
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Liberals would scream if the roles were reversed: Let's be honest, says Matthew Sheffield at News Busters, "if a Fox News employee hosting a presidential debate were to be exposed as having such a relationship with a Republican president, the story would be plastered all over the media and left-leaning journalists would be calling for him/her to be immediately replaced." That certainly would be a good call in Raddatz' case.
"Revealed: VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz hosted president Obama at wedding, never told public"

Scrutiny comes with the moderating job: "It's not unusual for debate moderators to be put under a microscope by partisan forces," says Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post. In 2008, The Drudge Report (which is touting the Raddatz story), "seized on Gwen Ifill's writing of a book on politics and race." Conservative media figures, "36 hours before Biden and Sarah Palin squared off," said this showed she was biased in favor of President Obama's campaign. Ifill shrugged it off, saying: "The moderator is not on the ballot."
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Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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