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Gwen Ifill to play hurt in Thursday's VP debate

On Thursday, Gwen Ifill will reprise her 2004 role as moderator for the debate between the major-party vice presidential candidates by posing the questions for this year's pair of running mates. But when the veteran PBS journalist convenes the nationally televised encounter, she will do so in PBS journalist Gwen Ifill hobbled condition.

Ifill broke one of her ankles last week while navigating a staircase. The mishap was debate-related; she was toting research material for it when she missed a step. But the injury won't keep her from traveling to St. Louis for the faceoff between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Ifill recently talked with the Associated Press about the challenge awaiting her. The story took note of the unprecedented interest in the debate, spurred both by Palin's newness to the national scene and questions about how she'll perform.

Here's the lead to the AP piece:

Being selected the moderator for a vice presidential debate is something like opening a suitcase on "Deal or No Deal" and finding $1,000. Nice prize, but it's no jackpot.

Not this year. The Oct. 2 showdown between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will likely put Gwen Ifill before the biggest TV audience of her life.

Indeed, the political world (that includes us) would be shocked if the viewership doesn't easily exceed the somewhat paltry numbers for Friday's initial debate between John McCain and Barack Obama.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (67)

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Like a judge with a personal interest in a case, Ifill should have recused herself from participation in this debate and any coverage of this race, but like all political whores in the media, she is unmoved by conflicts of interest or her own wholesale and obvious bias. This could be termed an outrage, but, unfortunately, this is just business as usual for the media and leftist politics.

The approving comments in this lengthy list just serve as stark evidence that partisanship runs rampant throughout the news media and that the slimy left is only bothered by it in those exceedingly rare instances when their side is disadvantaged.

When funding for public television comes up again, I hope that members of congress will remember the unmitigated leftist political bias with which this piece of the media pretends to present the "news"

It wouldn't make any difference if Sarah Palin's husband was the moderator or if Michele Obama was...Sarah will sound like someone picked out of the audience, which she actually was to play a game show...Ignorant of the world around her and making guesses...

Gwen Ifil is a pro. She is far too professional to jeprodize her career and reputation by being partial to either candidate.

I have yet to hear anything coherent from Palin in any of her interviews, so, it would be any moderators guess as to what type of question she might actually be able to address with any amount of intelligence. I feel empathy for anyone who would moderate this debate. My question to Palin's supporters is-- just exactly what questions do you think she could actually intelligently address? Please enlighten me-be specific.

I remember Gwen Ifil being essentially hostile to John Edwards in 2004, and it seemed as if she let Cheney get away with a lot. She should respect the voters and the process enough to not let either Palin or Biden slide with superficial answers to serious questions.

This paper is horribly biased, its worse than CNN. The biased for the Democrat party is just amazing. It is difficult to understand why journalist are owned by socialist. Enlisting a socialist like Gwen Ifill who is moderating the presidential debates, who skewered Dick Cheney four years ago, and now has full interest in making sure that Obama Biden wins the elections - so that her Pro Obama books pays off in January of 2009. What hypocrites the democrats are.
Just amazing

If she was writing a BIO on John McCain, this would be large & bold, front page New York Times.

"Debate Moderator writes Far Right wing Expose"

I'm sick and tired of all the Palin mockery among some media and liberals alike, and now, to top it all off, why is Gwen Ifill to be the moderator for the Palin/Biden debate?

Doesn't Ifill have alot to gain if Obama becomes president, as in the book she is writing on Obama?

Is there any structure in Washington anymore that is unbiased and fair that could produce an unbiased moderator, at least one that has not been known for criticizing Palin already.

Guess not. Seems like politics doesn't work unless it's as lopsided and one sided as it seems to be becoming lately.

Let's see how fair Gwen "Obama" Ifill will be.

As far as Biden trumping Palin, don't be so sure. Biden, the man that can't remember who was president back during the Depression and said he and Obama are NOT for clean coal.

Half the time, he doesn't know what he's talking about, he's a joke.

hey - every human being has their own view (bias if you will). The problem is Palin is a moron, no one can save her. If 90% the media are pro-Obama and 90% of the people are pro-Obama, then there is a problem with the Republican candidates. The winner is apparent - by the People!

The nation already is skeptical about the fairness and objectivity of the mainstream media regarding election coverage ... so, why in the world is Gwen Ifill the debate moderator, when she is writing a book about Obama ... especially since her book sales would increase if Obama/Biden win? The moderator in a debate ... especially one of this importance and magnitude ... should be seen as completely fair, objective and above reproach. This is a terrible choice, and could easily have been remedied by choosing from hundreds of other more objective potential moderators. I can imagine the outcry if Michelle Malkin, or Ann Coulter was chosen as the moderator for the first Vice Presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. FURTHER MORE ... Everyone knows that Roland Martin is in the tank for Obama ... and regarding his call for Palin to either 'put up, or shut up' ... for millions of Americans, we still feel that Obama never adequately explained why he chose to spend TWENTY YEARS, yes TWENTY YEARS, in Jeremiah Wright's anti-American, racist, black liberation church, which gave a life time achievement award to Louis Farrakhan, and Obama only quit the church due to public outrage and personal ambition.

Why is she a moderator when she is an unabashed huge supporter of the Obama campaign. She wrote a book about Obama and his rise to the Presidency which will be released on inauguration day. She is a liberal that has no credibility in a moderator position.

Everybody that wants to voice their discontent over Ifill being chosen as the moderator for the VP debate, please call the Commission on Presidential Debates at 202-872-1020 and voice your concern over Ifill. This woman is not a neutral party and the CPD can't say they have no moderate people for moderators. Ifill is said that her book on Obama is scheduled to be released on Inauguration Day. Now how the heck does she know already that Obama will be VP when the election is in November?

Get someone else to moderate and play it fair for both sides.

Gwen Ifill should be forced to immediately step aside as moderator for Vice President Debate tomorrow night.

Having Ifill moderate this 'debate', given her pro-Obama book coming out in 2009, is unacceptable, and even if she used good judgment and was 'unbiased', her presence alone would cause viewers to assume bias.

AP calls for her to immediately step down and be replaced, perhaps with Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Christiane Amanpour, or Andrea Mitchell.

America deserves debates with hard-hitting, unbiased moderators.

Ifill is unacceptable.

WileECoyote, Sean Hannity is not a journalist, he is a "commentator," but based on your ignorant and racist comment I suppose it is no wonder that you get the two confused.

How can you possibly have a black democrat Obama supporter be the moderator for the debate between Sara Palin and Joe Biden. This is just so not fair. Why not have a fair and unabaised moderator. I am fighting mad and I'm sure many other people are also. Something has to be done to stop this one sided media crap

Gwen Ifill must dismiss herself from being the moderator of tonight's VP debate. Her book in support of Senator Oboma is a major conflict of interest. I look to PBS the same way I do NPR which offers us the last real journalists in America. We cannot allow this debate to be clouded by anything that will favor one party over another. Gwen is compromised now and because of her obvious support for one party, she must be removed from the moderator position.

We liberals don't hate Sarah Palin. Like Harry Truman said back in 1948, we tell the truth and the Republicans think it is hell.

We are more amused AND terrified by Sarah Palin. I, for one, don't hate her. She scares the bejammies out of me.

Oh, I love these neo-cons who haven't read her book about the rise of the new African-American politician saying that it is totally pro-Obama. It could be a scathing attack. We don't know. I have read that the book comes out on inauguration day.

It is a typical neo-con tactic to create something out of whole cloth, present it as the truth and then beat the opponent about the head and shoulders with these "made-up" facts.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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