For many viewers, the biggest losers of Tuesday’s chaotic Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, weren’t even on the stage.
Instead, critics called out the way CBS moderators handled the combative affair.
Lawmakers, political pundits, former government officials, journalists, activists and celebrities criticized Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett and Bill Whitaker for failing to keep control of the debate ― which saw the presidential hopefuls interrupting and shouting over each other and ignoring time limits for their answers.
Other critics called out the moderators for the questions they asked and the topics they failed to address, such as the climate crisis.
Not a single climate change question. Horrifying.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 26, 2020
I guess I can skip the “words to live by” bullshit and go right to bed.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 26, 2020
Does CBS have a buzzer or something to organize this??? What’s going on?— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) February 26, 2020
Debates are hard. TV news rivalries are hardcore. That said, debate pros at other TV networks are exchanging messages calling this a "disaster," a "nightmare" and worse— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 26, 2020
Maybe CBS’s plan here is to run a debate so poorly, all the candidates on stage at least look more competent than CBS— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) February 26, 2020
If so, mission accomplished
Motto, CBS moderators? How about: "Trump is a corrupt, cruel, incompetent president with massive conflicts of interests and, having been unleashed by hyper-partisan Senators, is pursuing his worst authoritarian aims to destroy democracy at home and abroad." Guess that's my motto. https://t.co/lgyVpH755i— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 26, 2020
Question on soda bans before a single question on coronavirus... Well done CBS. Well done.— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) February 26, 2020
Nobody give cbs a debate again. Their moderators aren’t ready.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 26, 2020
can’t say anyone’s winning this debate, but CBS is losing— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) February 26, 2020
the last debate had compelling fireworks. this debate had fireworks but cbs' moderators had no idea how to contain it.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) February 26, 2020
CBS needs this break more than the candidates. That was a chaotic start. The moderators need to step in more forcefully and regain control in the next segment.— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) February 26, 2020
Take a commercial break and get control of this. Otherwise this is a commercial for Donald Trump. Do better CBS— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) February 26, 2020
These moderators might be the weakest moderators I've seen in a debate.— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 26, 2020
They have absolutely no control over who is speaking and they are forcing candidates to steamroll them if they want any speaking time.
This is a trainwreck.
CBS has done a terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad job running this debate. The moderators either lost control ... or wanted it to be a brawl for ratings, not informing viewers and voters.— jason_wilson (@jason_wilson) February 26, 2020
CBS: call the bullpen, get the emergency moderator warmed up.— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) February 26, 2020
Ugh this is really how we are landing this raggedy plane of a debate?— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) February 26, 2020
Asking about their favorite quotes ?
So, uh, the last debate also featured a lot of fighting but it seemed much more coherent? CBS moderators seem totally unable to keep things on track.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) February 26, 2020
CBS should be embarrassed.— John Weaver (@jwgop) February 26, 2020
The @CBS moderators are now going to ask the Democratic candidates, “What words they live by?”— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) February 26, 2020
...is the next question, “what kind of a tree would they be, if they were a tree?”
WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?
WE HAVE AN AUTOCRATIC SOCIOPATH IN THE WHITE HOUSE! 🤦🏻♂️#DemDebate
My motto is: No More CBS Moderators— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) February 26, 2020
cbs debate moderators: a/s/l what’s your hottest feature— Molly Priddy (@mollypriddy) February 26, 2020
The words you live by? Is this a fucking yearbook page?— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) February 26, 2020
[ 55 minutes into a giant messy screaming debate ]— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) February 26, 2020
CBS moderator: and now for a question from twitter
We're used to waiting until the tail end of each debate to hear the moderators bring up the climate crisis.— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) February 26, 2020
But it's honestly shocking that @CBS, in the final #DemDebate before Supert Tuesday, didn’t ask a single question about the defining issue of our lives.
what tree would you be? CBS should not be allowed any more debates— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) February 26, 2020
CBS asking favorite motto?? Are you kidding? What a fiasco.— Bill Carter (@wjcarter) February 26, 2020
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