- She is a damn good journalist.
- She works for PBS and is, I imagine, far less ratings obsessed than an anchor from a broadcast network. Result: less focus on silly tabloid stories and gossip items. A conversation about pigs, lipstick, Track and babies instead of the Fed Bailout, Iraq, Afghanistan and things like, you know, actual policy.
- She is a contender for the "Meet The Press" job. With David Gregory (mercifully) fading, and no other option clearly manifesting itself (scratch Olbermann and Matthews), one has to think that Ifill's chances are as good as they have ever been. Consider this to be her ultimate audition. Conduct a debate worthy of NBC's Sunday and she makes the strongest case she can. Conduct a debate worthy of Access Hollywood--not so much.
- With the sexism card in the air, Sarah Palin in a defensive post-Couric crouch and an expectation that Biden will somehow make an ass of himself towards Palin, the fact that Ifill is not a white man will undercut the "old-boy network Biden and the debate moderator ganged up on poor Sarah" narrative that could easily have emerged from the debate. Biden can still get himself in trouble--but no one likes watching two against one, so he may have dodged a bullet here.
There is a reason why Jim Lehrer was roundly praised by debate watchers: no stupid, silly season questions. His employment at PBS was key reason why.
It should be noted that #3 does contradict #2 slightly--obviously the higher ups are going to be looking at how big of a draw Ifil's is. My guess is not that big--but Sarah Palin sure will be.
Ha. The McCain camp is already trying to pressure Ifill: