The debate will take place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The debate will be in the Town Hall format and questions will be taken from the audience and some from the internet.
Participants in the town meeting will pose their questions to the candidates after reviewing their questions with the moderator for the sole purpose of avoiding duplication. The participants will be chosen by the Gallup Organization and will be undecided voters from the Nashville, Tennessee standard metropolitan statistical area. During the town meeting, the moderator has discretion to use questions submitted by Internet.
The host will be Tom Brokaw of NBC who is a John McCain supporter. Mr. Brokaw has said that over the summer he had “advocated” within the executive suite of NBC News to modify the anchor duties of the MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews on election night and on nights when there were presidential debates. Brokaw thought that Olbermann and Matthews used their time on air to engage in ‘commentary’. NBC said earlier this month that the two hosts would mostly relinquish their anchor duties to Mr. Gregory, while being present as analysts during debates and special election coverage.
Brokaw also said he has conducted some “shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks” between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was to assure McCain’s aides that — despite some negative on-air commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News.
On the Sunday, September 28 edition of Meet The Press, Tom Brokaw moderated a debate between McCain strategist Steve Schmidt and Obama strategist David Axelrod on topics ranging from Iraq to the Wall Street bailout which Axelrod seemed to win. At the end, Tom Brokaw did something unusual, he opted to give himself the last word and told the audience:
“In fairness to everybody here, I’m just going to end on one note. And that is that we continue to poll on who’s best equipped to be Commander in Chief, and John McCain continues to lead in that category despite the criticism from Barack Obama by a factor of 53 to 42 percent in our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Gentlemen, thank you very much. “
In fact, the latest NBC poll actually has no question about Commander in Chief. It turns out that Brokaw was referring to a poll taken weeks ago – right after the Republican convention and well before the September 26 national security debate. In each of NBC’s last two polls, Americans chose Obama over McCain so Brokaw was being quite dishonest.
Brokaw is very blatant and bold with his support of McCain; can he be a fair moderator?