Moderator Lester Holt under fire for going missing as two candidates traded verbal blows
Published 27/09/2016 | 06:39
The two candidates weren't the only ones under scrutiny during the first presidential debate.
The performance of Lester Holt, the NBC anchor chosen to mediate, was also closely watched.
“I'm honoured to have this role, but the evening belongs to the candidates,” he said at the start of the 90-minute debate, which may explain why he then seemed to disappear.
With a clear run, Donald Trump threw out his questionable facts – saying Hillary Clinton had been fighting Isis he entire adult life, for example – with not a hint of an interruption or a follow-up from the host.
Is Lester Holt still there? #Debates2016— (((Jared Polis))) (@jaredpolis) September 27, 2016
He talked over Ms Clinton, interrupting
The internet sprang into life.
Lester can hardly get a word in. Who is bullying who? https://t.co/I1KCjX3Wxv— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) September 27, 2016
Lester is getting druuuuuuunk tonight #debates— Kaitlyn Kaiser (@kaitlyn_kaiser) September 27, 2016
Was Mr Holt missing in action? Had he got stuck in the toilet?
In advance of the debates, the Clinton campaign had pushed for the moderator to act as fact-checker.
It was easy to see why.
In the event, many of Mr Trump's bolder claims went unchallenged and Clinton supporters gnashed their teeth as the Republican nominee kept talking over their candidate.
Mr Trump may have got a bit of a free ride. But his supporters weren't much happier than his, for failing to ask the Democratic candidate some tough questions.