Chris Wallace: Steering clear of the crazy

I’m writing this column a few hours after the conclusion of the third Presidential debate.

After I finished sending the Thursday edition of the T-R to the press I walked over to talk to the mailroom supervisor Connie.

Although I had to ask her something non-debate related the subject came up pretty quickly.

Connie, and a few other mailroom workers, asked me “Who won the debate?”

… Chris Wallace?

First time debate moderator and Fox News token-respectable anchor (somebody has to balance out Steve Doocy) seemed to be the only participant from Wednesday night’s debate to walk away with unequivocal support.

News organizations around the country were quick to praise Wallace for being clear, respectful, and starting the debate with a question about the Supreme Court, rather than a question about the scandal de’jure.

And oh how the “scandals” were flowing by Wednesday night.

In the week preceding the debate we, the American people that frankly just want to get all the politicians of our TVs so we can try and watch the Steelers salvage what is rapidly turning into a bad season, were treated to the following scandals:

A video claiming to show Democratic operatives promising to ban all firearms by executive order.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access was shut off because the Clintons ordered Ecuador to shut WikiLeaks down due to their damaging e-mail releases.

Another video claiming to show Democratic operatives fully endorsing a plan to commit widescale voter fraud.

WikiLeaks released hundreds more of Clinton’s emails with Former Counselor to the President (both Bill Clinton and Obama) and current Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign John Podesta wherein Podesta talks about Hillary Clinton’s need to hold one position about a political subject in public and another in private; he also called Bernie Sanders a “doofus.”

Wow, that’s a whole lot of “scandals” … I can’t imagine why Wallace didn’t want to take time during the final presidential debate of 2016 to ask a potential leader of the free world if one of her employees called a political rival a doofus.

As for holding a different political position in public than in private I suppose the most succinct answer anyone could provide would mostly be a combination of rude hand gestures accompanied by repeated use of the word “duh.”

Politicians talking out of both sides of their mouth? I think we all understand that’s going to happen.

If that sounds underhanded and kind of scummy that’s because it IS underhanded and scummy. Yes, it would be great if every politician said exactly what they were thinking about every subject regardless of the audience or the ramifications, but that’s not going to happen.

Why not? Because government is so corrupt that every publicly elected official is lying directly to our faces so they can expand their international power base and (insert insanity here) thereby destroying American sovereignty and forcing thousands of us into reeducation camps to be tortured by Jim Jarmusch movies and kale smoothies?

Sure, if you believe the sort of things being posted to Facebook by your soon-to-be-blocked former classmate.

Why do politicians hold different opinions for different audiences? They do it for the exact same reason that YOU and I do it; people are complex and some people respond better to one angle of persuasion than another.

The hope is that, when private opinions are made public, both opinions are at least within striking distance of each other philosophically; and that your “private” opinions aren’t advocating sexual assault in a conversation with the worst of the Bushes.

As for the “expose'” videos, they come courtesy of a man named James O’Keefe. If you don’t remember that name just skip the rest of the column because you’re better off.

For those that stuck around James O’Keefe is the guy who, in 2008, released an “expose’ video” showing him in loud, garish pimp clothes asking the political action group ACORN to help him secure federal funds to build a brothel.

Except, that didn’t happen.

O’Keefe edited together hours of video footage from a hidden recording he made at the ACORN offices and added new footage of himself, dressed in the pimp clothes that he did not wear during the hidden recording sessions.

In 2011 O’Keefe made another video, this time about how NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller was saying terrible things about the Tea Party while meeting with some phony Muslim Brotherhood-connected donors.

Yep, not true as well. You know who uncovered that one? Glenn Beck and his website The Blaze. Yeah, that’s how bad O’Keefe is at this, he couldn’t slip a nutso conspiracy theory past Glenn Beck.

So when O’Keefe produced these new videos … nobody cared.

As far as Ecuador shutting down Assange’s internet access: Ecuador came out a couple days ago and said that they did it themselves, not acting on orders, because they didn’t want WikiLeaks messing around in another country’s elections.

Is that the company line? Was Ecuador pressured into making that statement by high-ranking officials in our government? Probably not. Sure, our government is capable of doing all sorts of shady business in other countries … but think about it from Ecuador’s perspective. They’ve had this guy Assange holed up in their embassy in London for years, causing mischief all over the world with his massive data dumps of emails, correspondence and whatnot, and now there’s reports of his data coming from Russian hackers and maybe Ecuador just didn’t want to get pulled into the spotlight during this bizarre election cycle.

If you were somehow dragged before the lens of the 2016 presidential election wouldn’t you try your hardest to get out of it too?

So props to Wallace for avoiding the latest nonsense. All of these topics are exactly the kind of click-bait headlines that people love to read and never question; reinforcing preconceived notions is a lot easier than trying to report the truth.

To the person reading this that just scoffed at “report the truth”: yes, there will be times when the truth is bad for your candidate of choice, it happens. That isn’t evidence of a vast conspiracy against them, it means that your candidate of choice might not be infallible … unlike the rest of us, right?

As for the debate: Clinton came off like the kid in school you never want to talk to until the day before your group project is due; Trump spent the first half hour reminding all of us that if he used an ounce of restraint he’d be 10 points up in the polls, then spent the remaining time shooting his other foot by giving Clinton her next social media fundraising hashtag: “nasty woman.”

You know, par for the course. Is it November yet?

Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or