September 27, 2016 Last Updated 12:18 pm

The foreign press begins to weigh in on first presidential debate

The foreign press paid close attention to last night’s first US presidential debate. Overall, few thought Donald Trump did himself much good.

“Could an honestly uncommitted voter, could any reasonable person, conclude after Monday night’s debate that America would be in better hands with Mr. Trump as president? No. That conclusion is simply not possible based on the evidence,” wrote John Ibbitson of The Globe and Mail, the influential Canadian daily.

But foreign press members also paid attention to issues that directly effect them such as the war against Isis.

“Watching them both yacking on about the Middle East as a pink dawn glowed from behind the Lebanese mountains above Beirut, I found the Trump-Clinton show a grimly instructive experience,” Robert Fisk wrote today in The Independent (UK), which is now a digital-only newspaper.

“We have to knock the hell out of Isis – and we have to do it fast,” the great man told the world. Well, sure, but haven’t we all been knocking the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, even Lebanon (a few years ago), and achieving the constant rebirth of ever more vicious warriors, of which Isis – heaven spare us the thought – may soon generate another, even worse progeny?” Fisk asked.


Because of how late the debate aired in many countries, few European newspapers were able to publish much on the debate, but are just now posting reports online.

The Sun, the Rupert Murdoch owned British tabloid, is claiming that Donald Trump won the debate based on snap polls. In fact, the two snap polls published from CNN and PPP show the opposite. What The Sun is instead relying on are the online polls that have overwhelmingly been seen Trump supporters out vote Clinton supporters. For instance, The Sun points to the online poll on The Drudge Report to show that Trump triumphed over his Democratic rival.

The more left leaning Guardian, on the other hand, came to a far different conclusion.

“Donald Trump’s freewheeling approach spun wildly out of control in the first presidential debate as he was forced on the defensive during a chaotic clash with Hillary Clinton,” wrote a team of reporters for the Guardian.

“Goaded by Clinton and pressed hard by moderator Lester Holt, the Republican nominee angrily defended his record against charges of racism, sexism and tax avoidance for much of the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, outside New York City.”

The Sydney Morning News concluded that both candidates were a bit weak, but that Donald Trump “wilted” as the debate wore on.

“The fact-checkers had a field day, the candidates less so. As the first of three presidential debates closed on Monday night, a good number of analysts called it a points-win for the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton,” wrote Paul McGeough.

“Neither she nor the GOP’s Donald Trump managed to land a mortal blow on the other. But after early success on the issues of jobs and trade, Trump seemed to wilt while searching for a firm footing – which eluded him – somewhere between his raucous rally persona and his curious sense of what it meant to be presidential.”

But the Murdoch owned newspaper The Australian predictably said Trump won the debate.

“For the first half-hour, Donald Trump wiped the floor with Hillary Clinton. It looked as though the New York property mogul would win not only the debate but the presidency itself there in Hofstra, New York, in one debate,” wrote columnist Greg Sheridan. “He spoke in the powerful, plain language of everyman.”

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