We’ve all been through a lot over the past four years, and especially throughout 2020. Yet hardly anyone can deny that the first Trump-Biden presidential debate was even more disastrous than anyone could imagine before it happened. “Moderator” Chris Wallace got slammed across the board for barely stepping in as the two candidates crosstalked into oblivion. Trump refused to let his opponent speak, Biden told him to shut up, and absolutely nothing was accomplished over the course of 90 minutes. After the figurative curtains closed, America’s news anchors were quite frankly shocked.
No one can blame them. There’s never been a U.S. presidential debate like this one, and over on CNN, the post-debate rehash began. Jake Tapper (who’s normally calm, cool, and collected) sat slack-jawed for multiple seconds at one point. When he described what he’d witnessed, he put things in super-blunt terms: “That was a hot mess… a dumpster fire inside a train wreck… the American people lost. That was horrific.” His colleague, Dana Bash, could only utter, “That was a shitshow.” She added a caveat: “We’re on cable so I can say this.” Soon, Billy Madison jokes about Tapper emerged, along with CNN’s Brianna Keilar only tweeting her co-workers’ words:
Jake Tapper delivering a Billy Madison moderator moment: pic.twitter.com/D64KS6mfXB
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) September 30, 2020
JAKE TAPPER IS ALL OF US 😂 pic.twitter.com/liHntcGCYo
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) September 30, 2020
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) September 30, 2020
Jake Tapper just went Billy Madison moderator on us. “That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.” pic.twitter.com/B1pOmtQkEb
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) September 30, 2020
And @jaketapper’s said it.
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) September 30, 2020
Dana Bash: “That was a shitshow.” pic.twitter.com/VrrowZItq3
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) September 30, 2020
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) September 30, 2020
Over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos (who’s a former Bill Clinton de facto press secretary and advisor, so he’s seen some sh*t) summed up the evening without shying away from issuing his professional opinion. “I have to speak personally here as someone who’s watched presidential debates for 40 years, as somebody who’s moderated presidential debates, as somebody who’s prepared candidates for presidential debates, as someone who’s covered presidential debates,” he declared. “That was the worst presidential debate I’ve ever seen in my life.”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020
His colleague, Jon Carl, agreed while speaking to “a mess of interruptions, petty insults.” Carl explained that he “was in touch with some people on the floor who told me they were stunned by what they were seeing transpire on that stage.”
Over on Fox News, though, Sean Hannity (who has pointedly stated that he’s not a journalist but a TV host), declared that his candidate of choice performed like “a gladiator warrior fighter” who has entered battle and done “everything that he says he’s going to do, including battling covid.” No surprise there, but counterpoint? Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who didn’t do much despite being on the scene.
We need some humor, yes? Let’s let The Daily Show take it away from here.