Oh boy, are the natives restless now or what? After the CNBC debate where candidates were asked some real questions about their phony tax plans and other issues, Republican candidates and the RNC they love to hate are losing their collective (tiny, little) minds.
Reince Priebus sent a letter to NBC President Andrew Lack today crying buckets o'tears for his candidates.
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.
The "comic book version of a campaign" was a reasonable question, given the joke Donald Trump has made out of the Republican primary.
But I can think of at least two more substantial reasons for Priebus' grandstanding maneuver.
First, the frontrunner, Ben Carson, was shown to be a bald-faced liar about his association with Mannatech.
Second, the debate in February is being done in connection with Telemundo.
Who wants to bet me a $10 donation that the terms of the deal they finally strike will cut Telemundo and anyone associated with Telemundo out of the debate moderator/questioner pool?