Last week’s Republican debate made both America and the GOP’s candidates very aware of the fact that their absurd policy proposals collapse under the slightest amount of scrutiny. In response to that, the Republican establishment has petulantly demanded that their if debates look more like infomercials. Instead of having a Q&A format, Ben Carson is proposing a minimum of five minutes speech per candidate and no pesky questions. Ted Cruz has decided to put on his best Joe McCarthy impression and accused the CNBC moderators of being “left-wing operatives”, and demanded that debates be moderated by someone who also has no regard for facts or tact like firebrand radio troll Rush Limbaugh or smug FOX blowhard Sean Hannity.
The Republican candidates have roundly criticized CNBC for the performance of the moderators in the latest debate, upset at the idea that an independent press would want to test their policy proposals against empirical evidence and provide substantive answers to their legitimate questions about the viability of their candidacy. The RNC endorsed the outrageous paranoia of their candidates, as the chair of the Republican National Convention, Reince Priebus, submitted the following letter below to NBC, calling the network out on “bad faith.”
On CNN, Congressman Keith Ellison said it was “a standard tactic” that Republicans would cry that the media is liberal in order to avoid having to address issues and share their unpopular viewpoints. Even certain Republicans have distanced themselves from this thinking, including candidate John Kasich who says challenging questions are a part of the process.
CNBC is one of the more conservative networks, a mouthpiece for the one percent that advocates for free market neoliberalism. By holding NBC accountable for a debate they felt did not go well and thus suspending their partnership, the GOP is holding journalism hostage. Priebus obviously felt that he was losing control over the process. He would prefer to stand over the network’s shoulder as they craft questions. This situation plays into the GOP’s shift away from the individual campaign and into a more unified front in which they can use their party to their mask their overall weaknesses as viable candidates.
This anger at the debates and the particular aggression at NBC, proves how poor this pack of conservatives are at being genuine. NBC reacted rather meekly, considering they could have refused to terminate the contract of the next debate, or created more of a fuss at the subtext of GOP’s poor sportsmanship. The network released this statement as a response, “This is 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.”
This ever right-pushing conservatism motivated by xenophobia is leaving the GOP in a bizarre situation, where they play the victim card and cry crocodile tears about the unfairness of the debates. If you can’t stand proud and answer questions about your beliefs or give detailed plans about how you might lead this nation, then get off the stage. The public needs to know where these candidates stand on each issue, and they won’t be able to hide behind cries of “liberal bias!” and their ham-fisted appeals to American exceptionalism forever.
Please consider supporting the fund. Thank you!
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.