When I volunteered to write about this last presidential debate I was somewhat excited to give my take on what was going to go down. When I heard you were moderating, I became ecstatic. Sir, you are my favorite journalist. Going into this debate, I expected excellence from you. I know you’re not one to let people off the hook easily, I know your questions are tough but fair and frankly, I know you take no bullshit.

While I am definitely biased in favor of you, the friends and family I talked with during the debate all agreed with me and said your performance was impeccable. It saddens me a little that some post-debate analysis has suggested that you were walked over or that you were easy on Vice President Joe Biden. I believe that you attempted to treat both candidates the same but that your interactions with Biden were much more civil because of his attitude. At one point President Donald Trump addressed you and said, “I guess I’m debating you, not him.”

When Trump continued to interrupt you and Biden, you finally spoke out: “I think the country would be better served if there were fewer interruptions.” Mr. Wallace, when you said that I smiled with pride. You are probably one of the few people who believed that this debate was something for the benefit of our nation, not simply good television. I know a majority of my peers were watching this debate to conclude who won or to mock one of the candidates instead of listening to what they had to say. We’ve become a very polarized world, and I think the fact that you were there to serve the nation and to try to help voters is something that most people aren’t able to believe.

This debate served as proof that both sides of the aisle have become highly polarized and volatile toward one another. Out of the three men involved in this debate, you are the only one that conducted himself professionally and respectfully. At times you stooped to the level of Biden and Trump, raising your voice and interjecting. I don’t think you had any other choice. It’s sad that it escalated to that level.

I know that many ideas have emerged about how to conduct future debates to limit interruptions. After all, the other moderators probably won’t be as tough or as assertive as you were. You’ve come out in opposition to muting microphones. I think we’re both of the mindset that it gives moderators too much power and that it’s a sad day in America when the two men running for president have to be muzzled because they can’t have the decency to hear out the other side.

While muting mics has been a popular idea, I think the smarter move during the debate would have been to give you a water pistol. If there’s one man I trust to squirt water at two candidates during a debate, it’s you, sir. Mr. Wallace, thank you so much for serving the nation in the first presidential debate. I look forward to watching you on Fox News Sunday again and I’m comforted that there are still men out there who want to serve the country and seek the truth in the way that you do.

Love,

Teague Lars Peterson-McGuire


peters70@stolaf.edu

Teague Lars Peterson-McGuire ’23 is from Oconomowoc, WI. His major is Norwegian.