Debate and Switch
Not many people watch CNBC — and last night, it was obvious why. The hosts of the third GOP debate weren’t exactly hospitable ones, making the network almost the unanimous loser in a night that was supposed to be about the Republican candidates. So rude and condescending was the line of questioning that even the staunchest of liberals were embarrassed.
People like Bill Maher, who wouldn’t find common ground with conservatives if he were standing on it, tweeted, “Oh my [gosh]. Did I just hear Ted Cruz say something awesome that I agree with? Yes. The media is even stupider than the pols.”
Others were openly critical of the CNBC strategy of personal harassment. And for good reason. From the opening bell to the closing remarks, moderators Becky Quick, Carl Quintanilla, and John Harwood turned into virtual attack dogs, mocking and belittling the candidates at every turn. Until finally, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had enough. “Let me just say… the questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz started. “You look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?,’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?,’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?,’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?'” Cruz said to raucous applause. “How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”
In the Democratic debate, Cruz pointed out, “every fawning question from the media was, ‘Which of you is more handsome and wise?'”At one point, Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) could only shake his head. “Even in New Jersey what you’re doing would be called rude,” he fired back. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who had a stellar night, piled on during a debate over political action committees. “Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It’s called the mainstream media.”
Afterward, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus blasted the network for doing a “disservice” to the American people and the presidential debates. “One of the great things about our party is that we are able to have a dynamic exchange about which solutions will secure a prosperous future, and I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange. CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled.”
Even members of the media tried to distance themselves from the agenda of the NBC parent company. “It was a disaster for all of us in the news business,” Howard Kurtz lamented. But perhaps not for voters, who will almost certainly think twice about taking the mainstream media’s word for anything.
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