It isn’t to give each politician in a debate an equal shake (“fairness”) — it’s to dispassionately elicit information that will help a rational voter make an informed, rational decision (“neutrality”).
Given that, I’m not sure that it’s fair to criticize moderators of the Coons/O’Donnell debate for being “in the tank” for the Democrat. As an objective matter, what, as a stateswoman, does O’Donnell bring to the table? A spate of policy positions she purports to hold? That’s hardly a qualification for public office, and the press are within their rights to point that out. We can tease “Yellow Dog Democrats,” but the post-Palin era seems to reward, or at least sanction, empty vessel Republicans. That may be enough for your average red [animal]* Republican, but the press oughtn’t be in the business of treating those types of candidates with respect, just because they’ve filled out some paper and won a nomination.
The same principle applies to the Greene/DeMint race. DeMint is crazy. It’s true. But Greene is crazier too, albeit in different, fascinating ways. Do we actually expect the press to treat Greene as if he’s on the same plane of existence as his opponent?
* = animal omitted for now. Any recommendations?