What Elaine Quijano Has Said About Donald Trump? The Presidential Debate Moderator Is Trying To Stay Out Of The Fray
As a hard news journalist, the ultimate goal is objectivity. You don’t want to tip your hand in any way that could present a bias in your reporting, especially when you’re tasked with interacting with politicos on both sides of the aisle. Still, with this election in particular, it seems like a nearly impossible task to not have some sort of public opinion on the candidates. So the Commission on Presidential Debates found a star in CBS News’ Elaine Quijano, who is pretty quiet about Donald Trump, ahead of moderating the vice presidential debate.
The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates had to delay the announcement of who would moderate the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in part thanks to the particular challenges that the 2016 cycle presented (read: Trump). As CNN’s Dylan Byers reported:
The delay is due in part to an unprecedented challenge the bipartisan Commission faces in selecting individuals who are immune (or at least as immune as possible) to accusations of bias. While that is always a concern for the Commission, the sources said it is more challenging than ever this time around due to one factor: Donald Trump.
The last thing the Commission wants is for the moderator to become part of the story about a debate. Yet Trump's aggressive attacks on the media and complaints about unfair treatment have effectively guaranteed that the moderators will come under scrutiny from conservatives.
This has made the Commission even more cautious than usual in researching potential moderators, sources said. The Commission fears that Trump would use even the slightest whiff of a pro-Clinton bias to attack a moderator and undermine his or her credibility.
Quijano, who was once with CNN, has spent this election speaking with and reporting on Latino voters in particular. She hosted a panel on a CBSN (the network’s online streaming channel) report about why some Latinos could go for Trump, and though the panel was full of spirited opinions (panelist Julio Ricardo Varela said that Trump was “insulting the intelligence of the American population”), Quijano remained neutral about her opinions on the divisive candidate.
So, it seems as if the commission found a unicorn among journalists in this election, but some still have doubts. Newsbusters, which claims its mission is to expose “liberal media bias” interpreted some of Quijano’s reporting on illegal immigrants as sympathetic, though it should be noted that she interviewed people both for and against the proposed policy.
It’s also worth noting that Quijano hasn’t made any public statements for or against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. So, it seems that the commission has succeeded in their mission to find someone who won’t be perceived has having a bias. Congrats, y’all, because in an election as polarizing as this one, that’s a nearly impossible.