Responding to the blowback against CNBC’s handling of the third GOP debate, the head of the Republican National Committee announced Friday that it was “suspending” its plans to partner with NBC News for a presidential debate next year. In a letter to Andrew Lack, the head of NBC News, RNC Chair Reince Priebus said the CNBC network, which is owned by NBCUniversal News Group, conducted the GOP debate Wednesday in “bad faith.” “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,” Mr. Priebus wrote. “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. “We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach,” he said. “However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.” Ali Zelenko, spokesperson for NBC News, called it “a disappointing development.” “However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party,” Ms. Zelenko said in a statement. The debate in Colorado was the third of the GOP nomination contest, which the RNC hoped to have more control over following the unruly 2012 race. But the moderators in prime-time debate Wednesday lost control of the event, coming under fire from the candidates, who panned their questions as inaccurate and shallow. CNBC has since faced a barrage of criticism. “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,” Mr. Priebus said in the letter. “What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas,” he said.
Kudos to Reince!! This is a HUGE public rebuke of the dominantly liberal mainstream media…and it is a principled rebuke. I heard Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) say last night that what the RNC oughtta do for the next debate is have Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity be the moderators. Hmmm… I’d probably agree with the first two, but not Sean. Sean is a good guy and all. But, that’s a little outside his league. Rush is, well, Rush. Nuff said. And, Mark Levin is an attorney who knows the Constitution and Bill of Rights like no other…and has written books on the subject, literally. But, big picture.. I think the good Senator from the great state of Texas is on to something here.. I’d say, have FoxNews sponsor it, and have Rush and Mark be two of the moderators…along with someone like Brit Hume. That would be a VERY small nod to the establishment media as Brit is more or less retired, and came from ABC News once upon a time. He is VERY respected and measured, and would be able to balance/off-set some of the roughness from Mark.
GOP candidate reactions to debates so far:
Fox – “Your questions weren’t fair!”
CNN – “Your questions weren’t fair!”
CNBC – “Your questions weren’t fair!… We quit!”
What a bunch of whiners. Since when is having to answer “difficult” questions in order to show how you would handle the pressures of being President unfair!!??
While I didn’t watch the debate, I saw enough clips that I got the idea. To be “fair,” the CNBC moderators were hardly unbiased. They had their agenda, and they used the forum to further agenda instead of actually moderating a debate. Some of the candidates did a pretty good job of throwing it back in their faces. And, others, unfortunately DID come across as “whiney,” I agree. Those who took on these CNBC tools actually got a bump in their poll numbers…which makes sense.
You and I basically agree. I don’t think moderators have ANY responsibility to be “fair”. Their job isn’t refereeing. They are supposed to be asking HARD questions, and exposing weaknesses, not pitching softballs. These debates are nothing compared to what a President will face in verbal combat with Congress and the White House Press corps.