Networks walk a tightrope over crowded debates

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NEW YORK (AP) — Keeping the crowded Republican presidential debates fair, lively and topical can seem like the equivalent of juggling while walking a tightrope.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is the next television personality on stage. He’s moderating Tuesday’s GOP forum in Washington, a little more than a week after a misplaced email from the CBS News political director raised questions about whether networks give short shrift to candidates they think have little chance of reaching the White House.

The fluidity of the Republican nomination process and the increased importance of the debates make fairness an important issue. A conservative press watchdog, the Media Research Center, sees “a tilt” at the networks toward front-runners.

The center’s Tim Graham says that the only thing making it less unfair is that the front-runners keep changing.