Businesswoman turned politician Carly Fiorina is angry with CNN. The reason? The network is likely to leave her out of its prime time debate because she’s supposedly not polling in the top 10.
The only problem with that? She clearly is.
As Howie Kurtz explained on Fox News, CNN, however, is using older polls — from before the first Fox News debate — to assemble its “top 10” of candidates. It’s clear that this is extremely bad for Fiorina, since she barely had name recognition before that debate. After it, however, she quickly surged in the polls and suddenly become a top contender.
You’d think that CNN would understand that debates actually matter and that a few weeks (let alone a few months) are an eternity in politics, but they’re having none of it. From the looks of it, the cable channel will not change its selection process. This means that Fiorina will once again have to participate in the kids’ table debate, missing out on the big audience that the top 10 debate is sure to draw since they’re up in prime time.
Of course, CNN could change their system in the blink of an eye, but they’ll likely refuse to do so because they don’t want to “give in” to the demands of one of the candidates — says Kurtz. Well, of course they wouldn’t. To the networks, this entire primary process is — of course — not about the actual candidates, but about themselves. It’s about their ratings, their influence, their power and their reputation. Republican voters can lose, as long as the networks win.
This flies in the face of the interests of the Republican National Committee. The RNC has to learn from this debacle and make sure it — and nobody else — organizes future debates. Networks can air the debates – – obviously — but it’s not up to them to come up with the rules and to decide who can and can’t participate.