Moderator of VP Debate Mired in Bias Brouhaha

Ifill's book on black politics has been reported for months
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2008 9:40 AM CDT
In this image released by The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill is shown at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis on Aug. 27, 2008.    (AP Photo/The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, Don Perdue)
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(Newser) – When the two presidential campaigns agreed that Gwen Ifill would moderate tonight's VP debate, it was already known that she was writing a book on contemporary black politics. But yesterday the right wing blogosphere erupted with claims that Ifill is biased toward the Democrats and should pull out. As the New York Times reports, however, strategists on both sides think that bashing the moderator is a tactic to encourage Ifill to go easy on Sarah Palin, or to mitigate a possible bad performance.

Greta Van Susteren wrote on the Fox News website that she was "stunned," while John McCain said the moderator would be fair but added, "Does this help that if she has written a book that’s favorable to Senator Obama? Probably not." Ifill counters that she hasn't yet written the chapter on the Illinois senator—and says she's tuning out the chatter. "I have to let people judge me by my work," she said.