When President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden meet on a debate stage for the first time on Tuesday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace will be sitting at the moderator’s desk. The outwardly right-wing network was not only awarded the first presidential debate, but the one that will include a conversation on the anti-racist protests that erupted nationwide over the summer ― or as the topic will be framed Tuesday, “Race and Violence in Our Cities.”
Even if Wallace, who is possibly the network’s most respected personality, does a fair job, it’s questionable to award a presidential debate to a network that often acts as an undisguised arm of the Trump campaign. Just Tuesday, the network spent the hours leading up to the debate airing Trump-approved conspiracy theories about Biden using performance-enhancing drugs. Granting the network the imprimatur of a neutral arbiter of political debates gives legitimacy to a network that has no interest in fulfilling that role.
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But it’s particularly scandalous to let Fox News anywhere near a debate on race, given that its prime-time programming in particular often veers into lightly varnished white nationalism.
Its top prime-timehosts have routinely vilified Black Lives Matter protests and promoted conspiracy theories, while a writer on host Tucker Carlson’s top-rated show was recently forced to resign for being active on racist online forums ― the content of which seemingly became material for Carlson’s broadcasts.
Carlson, who has a long history of racist rhetoric that includes referring to Iraqis as “semiliterate...