October 30, 2015


Priebus told the NBC chief that “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,” he continued. “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.”

Ed Morrissey adds, “it may be time for the RNC (and the DNC, although the need is far less) to do their own broadcasting of debates:”

C-SPAN would be a potential partner and probably willing to do it, but even if not, they could simply broadcast it as a streaming show over the Internet. Netflix has its own original programming using the same technology, and broadband access is commonly available across the US. Moreover, the media would still cover the debates no matter what. Media filing rooms fill up with correspondents from all outlets, not just the one broadcasting the debate, and that won’t change in a presidential cycle. The RNC could invite mainstream-media journalists with demonstrated fairness to participate, or could focus more on New Media outlets with whom Priebus has already started pairing — such as NRO, or Salem Media Group (which owns Hot Air, of course).

Or perhaps booting NBC from further debates will get the point across with less expense. Priebus just fired a shot across the bow of all media outlets, not just NBC. And it was long overdue.

As Michael Walsh wrote even before news of Priebus’ decision, “The Media’s Potemkin Village Starts to Topple” — hopefully today’s announcement will only hasten its demise.

Related: John Harwood reflects.

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