The Republican presidential field is the biggest bunch of political lightweights to hit the stage since I ran for 8th-grade class president and the lineup is far less mature.
Sarah Palin started this trend, when reporters were accused of asking “gotcha” questions that included shockers like “what do you read?” This year, the GOP party is complaining when debate moderators ask questions about, really, anything.
Chairman of the party, Reince Priebus, penned an open letter to CNBC, who hosted last week’s debate. It was as full of whining and complaining as you might imagine and he says he doesn’t want anything to do with the network. Here’s the letter:
Dear Mr. Lack,
I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016. The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.
The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.
CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” That was not the case. Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.
While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of “gotcha” questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates. What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.
I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not.
While we are suspending our partnership with NBC News and its properties, we still fully intend to have a debate on that day, and will ensure that National Review remains part of it.
I will be working with our candidates to discuss how to move forward and will be in touch.
Chairman, Republican National Committee
Yes, CNBC is an arm of NBC and NBC, who is also a parent to MSNBC, has long been a target of the Republican party. The Washington Post put together a quiz that pretty much proves that CNBC was no harder on the candidates than Fox or any other network.
We should also note that this is the same party who has been using Benghazi as a taxpayer-paid political game for months now. We don’t see Hillary Clinton cutting ties because the questions got too tough.
Featured image via Facebook meme.