It seems as if Alex Trebek should maybe reconsider quitting his day job. On Monday night the Jeopardy! host moderated the Pennsylvania Governor debate between incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf and his Republican challenger Scott Wagner, and it did not go great!
Instead of doing what a moderator is supposed to do, which is “moderate,” Trebek inserted himself into the debate and became argumentative at times, at one point even lecturing the audience on how they should choose a candidate to vote for. He took particular umbrage with Wagner’s opposition to a proposed severance tax, which would be imposed on the state’s natural gas industry, and proceeded to grill the candidate on the issue himself.
When Wagner attempted to counter with the fact that Pennsylvania’s impact fee already generated 217 million dollars in revenue from the natural gas industry last year, Trebek interrupted to get the last word in. “You’re not taxing them that much because most of them are based in Texas or Oklahoma,” he said, and then bluntly informed Wagner that he was out of time.
The audience immediately and loudly began booing Trebek, and his performance was likewise panned by political strategists and other observers.
“Tonight was a disappointment for anybody who watched the debate,” remarked Charlie Gerow, CEO Of Quantum Communications in Harrisburg. “The two candidates are different in issues and in style and those differences were not highlighted because Alex Trebek got in the way. He went out of his way in the beginning, saying he was not going to get in the way, then he got in the way.
Kurt Knaus, director of the Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy, also located in Harrisburg, fumed that it was exactly what one would expect from a Hollywood star.
“It was more entertainment than debate,” he said, adding that it was especially disappointing being that this was the single debate for the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. “It was more of a debate between Alex Trebek and Scott Wagner. Those two went tit for tat much of the time. I thought Trebek questioned Wagner a lot more than he did the governor.”
Twitter naturally also had some thoughts, including from elected officials on both sides of the aisle.
At one point, Trebek also went off on a bizarre rant against the Catholic church, which was pointed out by others.
Overall general consensus is that Trebek definitely showed a bias against the Republican candidate, but unfortunately in the end that doesn’t help either party out. You can watch a clip of the awkwardness over at Mediaite.