Watters Slams Presidential Debate Moderators: ‘I’m Sure They’ll Be Calling Balls and Strikes’


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

CNN announced on Wednesday that it would host the first event in late June in the battleground state of Georgia without an audience, shortly after President Joe Biden challenged former President Donald Trump to two debates on his terms.

In a press release, CNN announced that the debate would take place on Thursday, June 27, at 9 p.m. in the cable network’s Atlanta studios. This news follows Biden’s campaign’s suggestion to hold the first event later that month.

A candidate’s name has to appear on enough state ballots to receive 270 electoral votes to win the presidency before the eligibility deadline, which was one of the requirements, according to CNN, for participation in the debate. That would create a space for independent contender Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to enter the debate, although his presence would defy one of the demands made by Biden’s campaign to face Trump one-on-one.

During a segment on “Jesse Watters Tonight,” the top-rated Fox News host slammed the presidential debate moderators — CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

Below is a transcript of the segment, via Grabien:


WATTERS: “The moderators for the CNN debate, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, here they are.”

[Clip starts]
TAPPER: “The dehumanizing rhetoric of Adolf Hitler is once again alive and well on a national political stage. This time, of course, in the United States. This time given life by former president and current Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.”
BASH: “Let’s recognize this comment for what it is: a long-standing anti-Semitic trope that the true allegiance for Jews is to their religion, rather than their country. It was used in Nazi Germany to justify the arrest, persecution and mass killings and attempted extermination of the Jewish people, and Trump has been pushing this trope for years.”
[Clip ends]

WATTERS: “Both moderators say Trump is Hitler, so the debate will be fair and balanced. Will Tapper cut the cameras away from Trump to fact-check him? We will have to see. The ABC moderators would be David Muir and Lindsay Davis, who will be taking orders from ABC News chief political correspondent, George Stephanopoulos.”

[Clip starts]
STEPHANOPOULOS: “The CIA, the DIA, Defense Department, military — and some people like to call those people ‘the deep state.’ Well, the big thing I learned doing this book is that the deep state is packed with patriots. (…) Those bedrock tenets of our democracy are being tested in a way we have not seen since the Civil War. It is a test for the candidates and for those of us in the media and for all of us as citizens.”
[Clip ends]

WATTERS: “Stephanopoulos praised the deep state and said Trump’s a threat to democracy. I’m sure they will be calling balls and strikes. So Biden set two debates on networks that push hoaxes with liberal moderators, mic cuts and no audience. And Donald Trump agreed.”



Additionally, according to CNN, candidates must consent to the debate’s guidelines and structure and score “at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN’s standards for reporting.”

According to CNN, the polling window for determining debate eligibility began on March 13 and ends seven days before the debate date. CNN also provided a list of polls that adhered to their editorial guidelines.

Kennedy, a third-party candidate, has been attempting to get on the ballot in all 50 states and has achieved double-digit support in some polls, despite the opinion of some that he is running a potential spoiler campaign.

Kennedy stated that excluding “viable candidates from the debate stage undermines democracy” in a post to X.

In a memo to Biden’s campaign, Trump’s staff stated that the former president had accepted CNN’s invitation to debate and that he had given his approval to Biden’s request for a September debate.

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