The Maddow question: Should commentators moderate debates?

NEW YORK (AP) — During her turn as moderator in last week’s Democratic primary debates, Rachel Maddow briefly scuffled with Bernie Sanders and, with Pete Buttigieg, induced the campaign rarity of a politician admitting to a failure.

But she didn’t put to rest the issue of whether NBC News was wise to include the host of MSNBC’s most popular opinion show as a questioner.

Some journalists have said this violates a traditional — if frayed — distinction between news and opinion. Maddow largely played it straight in the 15 questions she asked over two days, yet some conservatives took issue with the way she framed questions.

The question for NBC News is whether the publicity boost is worth the distraction.

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