Something to gain by playing favorites? Really?

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Washington Week host Gwen Ifill rejects the accusations of blogger Michelle Malkin and other right-wingers that she is “in the tank,” as Malkin wrote, for Barack Obama and therefore unfit as moderator of Thursday’s Palin-Biden debate. “They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I’ve done my job,” Ifill told the AP.
Ifill’s book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama is coming out on Inauguration Day, and Malkin says “Ifill and her publisher are banking on an Obama/Biden win to buoy her book sales.” (In a publicity video, Ifill says her book profiles the new generation of rising black politicians including Obama, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.). Kansas City Star columnist Barb Shelley dismisses the notion that tomorrow’s moderator would give an edge to one side: “Ifill is one of the smartest, most respected journalists on the scene. She would no more taint her professional reputation by slanting a debate than dance on a tabletop during the NewsHour.” Back to the main debate … Ifill told USN&WR that the debate format gives each candidate 90 seconds to answer a question from her and then two minutes for followup and exchanges.