The upcoming presidential debate was supposed to pit Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, but at this point it’s mainly a clash between two news anchors.
“Anderson Cooper — who has just signed a new long-term deal with CNN — and ABC’s Martha Raddatz are moderating the town-hall debate together, and the rival network anchors are already feuding over who gets to grill the candidates on the most blistering topics,” The New York Post’s Page Six reports. “Sources describe the DC meetings among ABC and CNN producers, the on-air talent and network brass ahead of Sunday’s presidential debate as ‘acrimonious at best.’”
The report quotes one source saying: “There won’t be just two presidential egos in the room on the next debate night, there will be four.”
Added an industry insider: “Getting the two networks together has been a challenge. They are feuding over petty things, such as ‘Who does each particular topic?’ Both Anderson and Martha want to shine, to be tough on the candidates, and not to be accused of bias. There’s a lot at stake. So there’s a lot of turf-grabbing going on — attempts to box each other out to get the territory they are most well-suited for.”
The insider also said: “Martha has vast experience covering national security, so she wants that topic, but Anderson’s team is being aggressive because he wants it for himself. The questions are fielded from the audience, so they are struggling to figure out how things will flow.”