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GOP should not chicken out from fighting media over debates

GOP should not chicken out from fighting media over debates

CNBC Debate debacle gives GOP opportunity to reset media relationship

On Saturday night, I wrote that the GOP needs to make an example of NBC News after the CNBC moderating debacle.

The point was not that NBC News is the worst offender, it’s that it was the wrong place at the wrong time for NBC News, and the right place at the right time for the GOP to pick a fight with the media. The RNC decision to pull NBC News (and its affiliate, Telemundo) from the debate to be co-moderated with National Review was a first step.

But it is not enough. The GOP needs to reset the narrative of the networks being in control.

For too long GOP presidential candidates have been subjected to Democrat-agenda journalists during Republican primary debates.

George Stephanopoulos’ grilling of Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican debate was a classic of the genre:

Just a few weeks after this debate, the Democrats launched their War on Women campaign theme. Stephanopoulos was just the preview. Coincidence? I think not.

Republican candidates have taken up the charge, with demands from various campaigns for a new set of rules to govern debates.

The media reaction was predictable.

Ryan Lizza from The New Yorker, who recently misrepresented the context of Jeb Bush’s statement that “stuff happens,” tweeted that it was hard to imagine that Democrats would attempt to control the media coverage. That, of course, was one of the least self-aware statements ever (please retweet):

Erik Wemple, WaPo’s fact checker, is upset about what he called The Republicans’ new plan to regulate the media industry. Focusing on a draft plan that Wemple acknowledges has not been signed-off on by any campaign, Wemple writes:

No, there’s nothing in here that violates the First Amendment, which prohibits laws infringing on the freedom of the press, among other things. Republican candidates can honestly say that they’re merely asking questions of the media, just the way the media asks questions of them. Yet the questions reflect no understanding of where the prerogatives of candidates end, and where those of the news media begin. More simply, they show a cluelessness about what television networks do.

Well, no Republican candidate or set of candidates is required to go on any network under rules developed by the network. It’s a free market, or at least it should be. If the GOP collectively decides it doesn’t like the network rules and moderators, the GOP collectively can decide to go its own way.

For too long the narrative has been that the GOP needs the media more than the media needs the GOP.

Only then will Republican candidates get a fair shake during debates.


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great unknown | November 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Allow me to enlighten Mr. Wemple. The prerogatives of the candidates don’t end anywhere. The Stalinists of MSM have not yet succeeded in suppressing political freedom and 1A rights for the “others”.

If news media do not cater to the public, they will have no prerogatives at all, being bankrupt. Unless, of course, they are propped up by infusions of cash from the likes of Bezos, Soros, and Carlos Slim. But that won’t help if they have no followers.

Absolutely agree and likely explains why Trump is pushing for more than the Ginsberg gang. The GOPe and other lightweights want to throw away their leverage.

Reporters worrying how Democrats don’t try to control media coverage is laughable question when all the media ARE DEMOCRATS.

Henry Hawkins | November 2, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Was the indictment-threatened James Rosen asked about Democrat attempts to control media?

“More simply, they show a cluelessness about what television networks do.”

Which is pretty true. And it’s something I’ve been talking about since the first debate.

Dogs bark. Cats meow. TV networks cater to ratings. THAT is just a fact, AND it is antithetical to a true POTUS debate.

Which is why I’ve been suggesting that the GOP take the whole ballgame OUT of that venue, and into their own park.

    Looks like we have common ground in agreement on this, Rags.

    “… suggesting that the GOP take the whole ballgame OUT of that venue, and into their own park.”

    Your idea has merit and deserves respectful consideration but I’m not sure I trust the GOPe to act as an honest broker either. Certainly almost anything would be an improvement on what we have now, but who within the GOP ends up with the decision-making authority?

Henry Hawkins | November 2, 2015 at 7:41 pm

BTW, after the 2012 ambush debate with Crowley, Stephanopoulis, et al, Reince Priebus assured us he never let THAT happen again. OK, Sparky. Good work. Way to go.

Since the Liberal Media are tactical agents of the Democrat Party, it is an imperative that these agents be sidelined.

GOP Debates can be televised by the GOP and a feed provided to any media outlet for rebroadcast with moderators selected from ligitimate conservative media personalities that are agreed to by a majority of contenders.

This opportunity must not be squandered. That is why I see the benefit of Trump continuing to exert pressure on the GOP and their Liberal partners in the debate hosting business.

There are a plethora of highly qualified conservatives who could moderate debates. This would not only provide balance but an opportunity for those leading lights to educate the public, challenge the candidates, and gain greater prominence and exposure in the national marketplace of ideas.

Economist Dr. Thomas Sowell, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Laura Ingraham, Professor William A. Jacobson — examples of highly talented thinkers who should be considered, along with a dozen prominent commentators like Coulter, Palin, Levin, and Limbaugh. I don’t think all moderators should be conservatives but there must be a balanced approach which is utterly lacking at present.

    I would be ecstatic to have Professor Jacobson selected as a debate moderator.

    I would not go along with a liberal moderator as a bi-partisn gesture.

    Let liberals continue to host and moderate their debates and we will start doing the same.

    Why? When was the last Democrat Debate hosted by Fox? Ever?

    When is the Fox-hosted 2016 Dem debate scheduled?

    The time has come to level the field.

      As Rush pointed out today (I had forgotten), the Dims cancelled a Fox co-hosted debate in 2008 over a… wait of it… joke by Ailes about Barack Obama.

      Once again, The Boy King projects his evil intent and weaknesses upon his ‘enemies.’ What a pathetic, lying sack of shit.

The GOP has a YUGE advantage in Donald Trump. The man is literally ratings gold. Is it any coincidence that pretty much all of the GOP debates have been the most watched of any debate? If I were Priebus, I’d tell the MSM “Play nice, or you don’t get Trump or any other candidate for a debate. Ever.”

Of course if I was Priebus what happened with CNBC wouldn’t have happened in the first place…

    cantor4massat4 in reply to Radius. | November 2, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Actually, Trump was rather boring this past debate. Cruz was the one who made it exciting. Viewers will probably look forward to the next debate hoping for a little more of that excitement.

    If I were Prebus, I’d salvage any honor I have left, and commit hari kari.

    Either Prebus is as incompetent as Hillary Clinton, or he’s in the bag for the democrats. Either way, his presence is sickening.

Henry Hawkins | November 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm

You don’t have to have a conservative to moderate a debate in a neutral manner. An honest journalist following standard ethics can do it no matter what his or her personal politics are. Of course, I make an entirely rhetorical argument. There aren’t any honest journalists following standard ethics and there never were.

What is needed to moderate debates fairly is a robot. Or Brian Williams. I mean, when he gets back from NASA’s Mars exploration mission.

Press harder – these people are not as smart as we gave them credit for. The audacity of a gaggle of Winston Smiths pretending there is no media bias shows they are more stupid than corrupt. Press harder and they will fold.

“I’m not sure I trust the GOP to act as an honest broker either.”

Don’t. The RNC is incompetent (they just now realized the Dems have their palm on the scale?) and the GOP Establishment Party (E) is corrupt. There are days its seems like they enjoy playing as the Redshirts to the Dem’s Harlem Globetrotters.

Trump is one-upping them all. This could result in an end-around the whole RNC / MSM cabal. Get your popcorn …

Wasn’t Hillary’s Benghazi video fake a ploy to manipulate the media into believing something that wasn’t true?

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to jennifer a johnson. | November 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

    No, the video story originated with the CIA. What Hillary did wrong here is that she didn’t fight it, and was, to some degree, a loyal soldier.

    It was not intended to fool the American public. The disinformation was intended for Obama, so that he should think there was nothing to investigate, but was not intended to go further. But people in the White House made it public, and it exploded in their faces.

    By the time the White House got behind the spontaneous attack idea everybody knew it was wrong.

    Hillary Clinton never actually endorsed the video or spontaneous demonstration (that ran out of control and/or was exploited by terrorists) explanations, as Jake Sullivan noted in an email to her about two weeks later.

    Although she had probably orally ordered the State Department to accept it because Clapper (and Obama) had, and maybe there might even be some (classified or otherwise protected from disclosure) textual evidence of that that hasn’t been disclosed yet.

G. de La Hoya | November 3, 2015 at 7:42 am

Subliminal messaging and pure propaganda. Cruz nailed it at the CNBC debate(if that is what you want to call it). Shut up Christie, you should have been questioned on your weight, too. Rise in the polls and you will be.

G. de La Hoya | November 3, 2015 at 7:47 am

Would love to see a Democratic debate on FOX. How about the RNC pull and pool some resources and host a parody of the Democratic debates on FOX during the same time slot as the actual Democratic debates? There would probably be more truth in the parody debate.

Midwest Rhino | November 3, 2015 at 8:14 am

Trump does seem to be the celebrity draw, that is making these R debates a revenue bonanza for the MSM. All they would need to do is demand neutral or conservative moderators, and perhaps for NBC, insist all question be submitted in advance, or they are in breach of contract. Reince insisted he had a contract with CNBC that was broken, but he must have agreed to the leftist attack dog moderators.

They still need the MSM exposure, though moving toward online or alternative media is advisable, again with Trump drawing people into those venues. Of course there is a lot of Trump hate, and Tea Party whacko bird disparagement, in the establishment oriented “conservative” media as well, so they’d need a Levin or Hannity in the mix.

Midwest Rhino | November 3, 2015 at 8:26 am

Cristy gave the lackluster self promotional speech for Romney last time around, then became Obama’s huggy bear trying to slurp up Big Sandy billions. Now once again he mocks the R candidates for wanting a better debate, and Obama copies his lines, also mocking them for not being able “to handle” the leftist moderators (“so how could they handle Putin” flash the applause sign).

But of course the point is not about inability to “handle them”, but to have a national debate where they don’t have to face leftist pie throwers. But Cristy likes pie, and throws some at the other Rs.

Trump is a ratings draw only as long as he maintains the affect of a cable TV-style bomb throwing game show host. The minute he tones it down and no longer tosses rhetorical grenades, the media attention will fade. That’s entertainment and the reason we know the name Donald Trump at all.

Abigail Johnson
Ray Dalio
Charles Ergen
Donald Bren
Ann Chambers
James Simons
Patrick Soon-Shiong
Andrew Beal
Charles Butt
Jack Taylor

That’s a list of ten American billionaires much richer than Donald Trump. Honest commenters will admit they recognized few of their names and would likely not recognize their faces at all. So, why is Donald Trump so much more of a celebrity if being a hugely successful business leader doesn’t bring fame? We know of Donald Trump at all only because he self-promoted enough to star in a cable TV game show – The Apprentice – where he played the role of a tough and exacting employer.

His business success is not the source of his ratings draw. His cable TV role playing as a touch and exacting employer is. Just as with the TV show The Apprentice, Trump creates drama and then exploits it for ratings. It was pure unadulterated schlock ‘reality TV’, a genre that has largely taken over cable TV not because it is good TV and not because it is entertaining to many, but because it is far cheaper to produce because by definition such shows are cast with amateurs, not highly paid professionals.

I reject the idea Trump is presidential because of his business acumen – we have a huge number of Americans who are far better and far richer business people. Trump is attracting ratings because he is a cable TV star who has learned how to create and exploit drama in front of cameras. It is this practice that made him change political party affiliation five times since 1999 – because Trump chases the market as he defines it for the moment at hand. He has no ideology beyond profit-making and the election of Obama in 2008 made him decide he now needed to be a Republican again if he wanted to run for president. Trump is not the only one who decided running against Her Majesty, Princess Inevitable was not the easiest path, ergo… *poof* … Trump again changes party affiliation the very next year, 2009, and begins reversing his previous liberal/Democrat positions to become more rightist in accord with the new Trump being constructed.

Others may do as they wish, of course, but I wouldn’t trust Donald Trump if my life depended on it. He will change yet again the instant the political winds tell him he needs to.

It was obvious that the questions at the Democrat Debate were given in advance. Their ” Softball,” questions, were rediculous.