The pro-Trump media machine of Australian Rupert Murdoch already is trying to level-set in ahead of this coming Thursday’s third and final presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump by characterizing moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News as being biased “with deep Democratic ties.”
The New York Post tabloid and Fox News channel are running stories that insinuate that the White House correspondent will be unfair to Trump during the 90-minute debate in Nashville. “Trump supporters who took issue with hard questioning by previous moderators like Chris Wallace and Savannah Guthrie may find themselves pining for those combative hosts after Welker is done with the president,” the two Murdoch outlets warn.
They go on to say “Welker comes from an established Democratic family — who have poured cash into party coffers, and to Trump opponents, for years.” The outlets also attempt to prove some kind of deep Democrat connection by writing “In 2012, Welker and her family celebrated Christmas at the White House with the Obamas.” As evidence they cite a photo of the White House correspondent and her father, Harvey, posing with Barack and Michelle Obama.
Sam Stein of The Daily Beast called out Post reporter Jon Levine for the absurdity of his attempt to paint Welker as partisan: “What an absolute joke. IT’S THE WH CHRISTMAS PARTY! Literally everyone in the WH press corps is invited. I’m sure you’d find conservative journalists there too.”
What an absolute joke. IT’S THE WH CHRISTMAS PARTY! Literally everyone in the WH press corps is invited. I’m sure you’d find conservative journalists there too, @LevineJonathan. Do something more useful with your time than try and trash a media colleague and a great one at that. https://t.co/MDp8eIsGRL
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 17, 2020
Team Trump isn’t exactly on the same page about the prospect of Welker moderating the debate. Two days ago Trump adviser Jason Miller opined that Welker is “going to do an excellent job as the moderator,” while today the president tweeted “she’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game.”
Trump advisor @JasonMillerinDC days ago: “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker. I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator … I think she’s a journalist who is very fair in her approach. And I think she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate." https://t.co/GBjUq86Czd
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 17, 2020
New York Times correspondent Annie Karni also defended Welker, pointing out that Trump actually congratulated Welker in January of this year when she was named a co-anchor of the Saturday “Today” show on NBC. “They made a very wise decision,” he said at the time.
As Trump + campaign try to undermine @kwelkernbc ahead of debate, I am reminded of him singling her out at presser in Davos to congratulate her on promotion.
TRUMP: By the way, congratulations on your show.
WELKER: Thank you very much.
TRUMP: They made a very wise decision.
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) October 17, 2020