Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'General Election; Television Debates; Guyon Espiner'

So you’d like to moderate a TV leaders’ debate. But have you got the right stuff?

Chairing a television debate between two party leaders during an election campaign is probably  the most difficult thing an interviewer can do. The stakes will never be higher and each leader’s aim will be to monopolise the available time by out-talking his or her opponent. Volume can come into the mix as much as, and sometimes more than, debating skill.

The moderator’s job is:

  • To ensure that the two sides get more or less equal time not only in the overall debate but within each question area;
  • To play devil’s advocate to both sides and with equal force;
  • To keep order.

To  achieve this, he or she:

  • Must have a natural authority;
  • Must not be overawed by the debaters or their status;
  • Must enjoy their respect;
  • Must be willing to read the riot act to them if things get out of hand;
  • Must, like a Rugby World Cup referee, not unreasonably restrict the free flow of play by being unnecessarily pedantic;
  • Must, regardless of gender, have a good strong voice.

If the moderator is unable to be heard when the debaters are talking over one another or if he is too lacking in confidence to interrupt and demand that they behave like civilised people, then he shouldn’t be doing the job.  Read the rest of this entry »