Following a barrage of criticism against candidates and the moderator alike, the Commission on Presidential Debates has released a statement today indicating that things will change for future debates. There is no word specifically on what the commission intends to change, but adding additional “structure” to maintain order during events could mean a variety of things.
Here is the full statement from the CPD released on Wednesday:
The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.
The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.
There are endless suggestions from pundits and viewers alike on how to improve or alter the debate rules to foster more discussion of the issues and prevent interruptions.
I could go on and on with my own thoughts but here are suggestions in the form of emails and text messages we have received here since the debate aired last night. Names have been truncated to protect identities. We read all your messages and emails but can’t respond to all of them.
“After today’s debate, with the insane amount of interruptions, it might be a good idea going forward to turn off the mic of the person not being asked the question. That might help.” – Erin B.
“The Presidential debate tonight was absolutely disgusting. Trump could not keep his mouth shut and his behavior is disgusting (this is our president?!). Don’t even have any more Presidential debates and make the American public suffer through such a circus – unless you totally shut the mic off when that person’s time is over. The moderator did not have control and could not get Trump to stop interrupting. Totally disgusting spectacle!” – Patti Q
“Is it possible to turn off the mic of the person who is not permitted to interrupt during the two minute session? The interruptions are severely distracting from the dialogue.” – Roseann S
“The first presidential debate was an absolute disaster. The format really should be changed as one of the parties is mentally ill. Any interruption, bullying, name calling, denigrating family members, etc. should be grounds for turning the microphone off. This was the WORST I have ever seen.” – Jo H
“Please implement the extremely needed mute button for the moderator to use.
its common sense by god!” -Michael D
“Please put the candidates in separate rooms that look the same. Then broadcast then picture in split-screen. When a candidate is asked a question, you shut off the other candidate’s microphone.” – Steven L
“In order to stop Trump from speaking out of turn, have the moderator control the mics. Turn off the mic of the person not supposed to be speaking. At least it will shut him up and give equal time to both parties.” – Joanne D
“The first presidential debate was an embarrassing disaster, mainly because of Trump. Why not have mike cutoffs to use when necessary. Chris Wallace was ineffective at controlling the situation! Sad for the American people.” – Anonymous
“Why was President Trump allowed to go on and interrupt every time Biden tried to talk?? Surely Chris Wallace could have done a better job of cutting him off. If this is how the debates are going to be The rest of the debates should be canceled.” – Anonymous
As you can see, we have reader suggestions that include cutting mics, splitting candidates in separate rooms, or simply institution a “mute” button when the moderate wants to talk.
We will await a further announcement from the CPD on what type of changes we can expect in future debates.