Fox Business moderators shine by not shining


Moderators for Tuesday's Republican presidential primary debate, hosted by Fox Business, went almost entirely unnoticed during an event heavy on economics and policy, and in the eyes of many outdid the moderators of the CNBC-hosted debate in October.

Ahead of the debate, co-moderators Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, with assistance from Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker, planned to go minimalist in their roles. In multiple interviews, Cavuto had said it was it was his intention to be virtually "invisible," focus on policy questions and let the candidates make the news.

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It seemed to work, and many political and media professionals lauded the debate format as more issue-oriented than the previous one, hosted by Fox Business competitor CNBC. The CNBC debate was largely panned by conservatives and media critics who said the moderators were ineffective and lost control of the forum.

Veteran Republican operative Rick Wilson remarked on Twitter that the Fox Business effort was "a vastly more serious and grounded debate."

"Debates are better when the moderators don't openly despise all the candidates and the audience," remarked conservative writer Jon Gabriel, referring to the CNBC debate moderators who many on the right claimed were unfair to the candidates.

Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, praised the Fox Business moderators in a statement after the debate ended. "Fox did not best CNBC, Fox utterly humiliated their competition," Bozell said. "They asked fair, serious, substantive questions, and did so respectfully."

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