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In the next presidential debate, mute the microphone | READER COMMENTARY

Presidential debate
Presidential debate

Regarding the recent presidential debate, anyone who has ever participated in a video conference on Zoom knows that when people congregate for a meeting, there is a period of free conversation. When the meeting begins formally, everyone may be muted and only the moderator would be able to unmute one person at a time — the one person who has requested and been given permission to speak. Meanwhile, anyone who wants to address the group can write on “Chat.” Everyone can see the written message at the bottom of the computer screen, but no one has to pay attention to it. Should a speaker hog the microphone or become abusive, the leader can mute that speaker, giving others an opportunity to speak.

Moderator Chris Wallace could not persuade one candidate not to constantly interrupt the other candidate’s “two uninterrupted minutes” with shouted remarks that go on and on, often going far off the topic. Why didn’t Mr. Wallace simply turn off the microphone of the candidate who is not engaged in his own two minute turn? That enforcement of the debate rules to which both candidates previously agreed would be applied to either candidate unable to abide by his previous agreement (“Presidential debate commission making changes ‘to ensure a more orderly discussion’ after chaotic Trump-Biden contest,” Sept. 30).

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Mr. Wallace was unable to handle the job. One hopes, for the benefit of the voting public, that his successors will do better.

Diana C. Schramm, Baltimore

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