Moderators were again in the line of fire after a presidential debate last night, as Donald Trump framed the stern inquiries of ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper as tantamount to “one-on-three.”

“I think it was clear that the moderators were biased, they were cutting him off,” said Andrew Hemenway, state co-chair of Trump’s campaign in New Hampshire. “It was like the debate was between him and the moderator. Instead of moving along, they were trying to interject as well. I think his point about it’s three-on-one here was accurate. We saw that play out a number of times throughout the night.”

Trump, who has consistently questioned moderators and their political leanings, complained that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was given more allowances than he was to respond and go over time. Clinton herself talked over Raddatz and Cooper to conclude several thoughts.

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One of Cooper’s key missions was restoring CNN’s reputation as even-handed in presidential debates in an era of heightened scrutiny and after an infamous debate moment in 2012 where Cooper’s former colleague Candy Crowley issued a specious correction of Mitt Romney, in a moment that was seen as helping sway the election.

“The media and the public, as well as the candidates and the political people, all now are honing in on the role of the moderators,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University media analyst.

Last month, Trump complained he didn’t think Cooper should be a moderator because “he’ll be very biased, very biased.”

“CNN is the Clinton News Network and Anderson Cooper, I don’t think he can be fair,” Trump said.

Berkovitz said Cooper may be miscast as a reporter first, particularly compared to Raddatz,

“Raddatz tries to present herself as more of a straightforward, hard-hitting journalist and has covered all sorts of different parts of the world and different types of stories,” Berkovitz said. “Anderson Cooper is more of a host of a program than a journalist per se. He hasn’t exactly gone brass knuckles after Hillary in one-on-ones, but that’s common.”


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