How CNBC actually messed up Wednesday’s GOP debate

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

14 million viewers for Republican presidential debate a record for CNBC.

First-time Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, who spoke about his humble beginnings as the son of a bartender and a maid, and promised to protect the interests of the “average American”, appeared close on the heels of front-runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the race for Republican nomination for President on Wednesday.Moments into the third Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, a confrontation that had been brimming for months finally unfolded before millions of TV viewers: Jeb Bush – son of president George HW, brother of president George W – turned to his former protege Marco Rubio and attacked.Republicans are divided about many things, but one thing they all agree on is that the news media are out to get them, and when they fail, it isn’t their own fault, it’s because of the dastardly liberal media.The Republican presidential primary debate continued its run as the season’s hottest TV ratings hit, delivering an average of 14 million viewers for CNBC on Wednesday.

The Braves drove us to distraction and brought “termination” to Frank Wren, the general manager who built them, by swinging big, missing big and spitting the bit in September. So it was that the biggest applause in last night’s debate came when Ted Cruz unloaded all the righteous indignation he could muster on the moderators of the debate. “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” he thundered. “How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?” He added that it was the result of liberal bias, noting: “The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, ‘Which of you is more handsome and why?’” He wasn’t alone. “I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. The audience was the lowest of the three GOP candidate showdowns so far, but still delivered the highest number ever in the 26-year history of NBCUniversal’s niche cable channel covering business and finance news cable channel, which typically averages about 343,000 viewers in prime time.

Ratings for the third debate among Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to run for the White House in the November 2016 election trailed the other two aired on Fox and CNN, which drew 24 million and 22.9 million viewers. At the debate, Bush at last seized on an opportunity to strike Rubio, attempting to make hay from his habit of missing Senate votes while campaigning for president. “Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work,” said Bush. “I mean, literally, the Senate – what is it, like a French work week?

You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job.” Bush, who is 18 years Rubio’s senior, resembled a teacher admonishing one of his pupils – but the student seemed to have become the master. I can vouch for the fact that you certainly work more than most members of Congress,” Earnest said, to laughter in the briefing room. “A French work week of 3 days? Rubio deftly batted away the charge, painting Bush as hypocritical and politically motivated without actually hurling any insults at his former mentor. “I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record,” said Rubio, referring to recent comments by Bush likening himself to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, who also missed Senate votes. “The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position,” Rubio said, as the audience began to roar, “and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Not only were the questions snarky and divisive and nonsubstantive, they were just biased.

Party chairman Reince Priebus instituted a series of rules after the 2012 election in an attempt to have moderators who would be interested in discussing conservative issues. On Thursday, Priebus sent an email titled “CNBC should be ashamed of themselves.” He asked supporters to sign an online petition to “put the mainstream media on notice” about bias. But although Bush’s attack was meant to highlight the senator’s relative inexperience, Rubio is happy to embrace the mantle of a fresh-faced candidate of the future who, unlike his former Florida ally, was neither born into wealth nor to a political dynasty. Republicans began complaining about media bias back in the 1970s, and you can count on every losing presidential candidate to begin whining about it within a couple of weeks of their defeat.

And it became somewhat of a free-for-all that everybody had to jump in when you could jump in.” The moderating team’s occasional stumbles offered the candidates an opening to turn the partisan crowd against them and avoid delivering straight answers to what in most cases were tough queries. Earnest said he has not spoken to the president about the exchange but noted that Obama has spoken about the “warm welcome” he has received in the country on a number of occasions. The idea that the media are biased against Republicans has been woven deeply into conservative ideology, to the point where they’ll trot out the assertion on every issue, whether there’s any evidence to support it or not.

Quick had perhaps the worst moment as she asked Republican front-runner Donald Trump about his criticism of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for bringing in immigrant workers. The audience booed loudly at them several times – sometimes at the encouragement of the candidates. “There were a lot of conservatives urging them to go hard after the media and that’s what they did,” Harwood said. Competing cable news channels, most notably Fox News, gave Republican talking heads and commentators free reign to dump on CNBC’s moderator panel during its post-debate programming.

The moderators had little tolerance for candidates trying to interject and respond to another candidate’s answer, frequently cutting off anyone who tried to chime in. But many of the second-day analysis by political writers showed that the claims the moderators raised in their questions that the candidates disputed were factually accurate. When Bush went after his Senate attendance, Rubio reminded the audience, as he often does voters, that his campaign is designed not to take down fellow Republicans but to defeat Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

To Hillary Clinton: “Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency…Will you say anything to get elected?” And the follow-up: “Do you change your political identity based on who you’re talking to?” To Bernie Sanders: “You call yourself a democratic socialist. NBC News executives said privately that the backlash against CNBC was not expected to effect their organization’s relationship with the Republican Party. Carson share the status of being political outsiders as both have not served any elected office and have used it to their advantage as conservative voters, said to be tired of the old political class, are looking for a change. When he was questioned about his prior financial troubles while serving in the Florida state legislature, Rubio cast himself as someone who, like most Americans, has struggled with money and thus understands the impact of a sluggish economic recovery. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?” To Martin O’Malley: “Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what’s going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?” To Jim Webb: “Senator Webb, in 2006, you called affirmative action ‘state-sponsored racism.’ In 2010, you wrote an op/ed saying it discriminates against whites.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of Republican presidents, is trailing far behind the front-runners with only 16 per cent of the party voters showing any inclination towards him. Given that nearly half the Democratic Party is non-white, aren’t you out of step with where the Democratic Party is now?” Those were the first questions each candidate got. As unlikely as it may sound for a conservative debate, most candidates spoke of how big businesses, big banks and lobbyists were holding a disproportionate sway in decision-making in Washington, alleging that a nexus between them and the ‘establishment’ was causing miseries to the middle class. Democrats have said this is what makes him so dangerous – he is relentlessly on message and knows how to sell even the most traditional of Republican policies as new and innovative. The question to Clinton presumed she’s a phony, the question to Sanders presumed he’s an unelectable extremist, the question to O’Malley presumed he left Baltimore in tatters, and the question to Webb presumed he doesn’t belong in his party.

Whether Rubio’s performance on Wednesday would dramatically lift his campaign, which has been on a slow and steady upward trajectory, remains to be seen. Wage stagnation and business environment that is unfriendly to small businesses were among the concerns that most candidates promised to fix if they were elected president. He received similarly glowing media attention after the first two presidential debates, but this has yet to prompt a mass exodus of establishment donors away from Bush and over to Rubio. By Thursday, Rubio’s backers in Florida had already scheduled a fundraiser in Miami Beach with an eye on the jittery supporters of his home state rival.

Sometimes they do it with the old Tim Russert technique of accusing candidates of hypocrisy and seeing whether they can worm their way out of it (which is no more enlightening now than it was when Russert was employing it). A fundraising boost would help Rubio increase his presence in the early-voting states, where his campaign’s light footprint on the ground has raised questions over whether he can remain competitive in a national election.

The once-presumed frontrunner downplayed reports of his demise the day after the debate. “I knew this would be a long journey, but to suggest that the campaign is terminal, come on. In every case, the question involves more of a pose of confrontation than actual journalistic toughness, which would involve taking the candidates’ ideas seriously, forcing them to be specific where they’d rather be vague, and holding them accountable for not just their gaffes but the consequences of what they propose to do.

Vowing to win the nomination “the traditional way”, he embarked on Thursday on a swing through the early-voting state of New Hampshire in the hopes of resurrecting his beleaguered campaign. At Bush’s first event in Portsmouth, his supporters also dismissed the notion that the end of days for the former governor was near, even as they conceded they were confounded by the state of the race. Randy and Susan Shasteen, from Key Largo, Florida, but traveling on holiday, said it was “too early to give up” and felt Bush had been too polite in his exchange with Rubio. “Jeb was right, but Jeb’s too nice and he’s not going to hit back and say, ‘Marco, you need to do the right thing and not collect $179,000 a year and not represent the people,’” said Susan. ‘“I agree with Jeb and I cheered that.” Privately, several of Bush’s financial backers couldn’t disagree more and were somewhat perplexed by his decision to pick a fight with Rubio, when they viewed the bombastic real-estate mogul Trump as the obstacle standing in Bush’s way to the nomination.

We knew that going in, we know that coming out,” said Bush’s campaign manager, Danny Diaz. “The reality is that he doesn’t have a record of accomplishment. In 1988, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis had been a lifelong opponent of the death penalty, a topic of substantial discussion on the campaign trail. The collision course of the one-time allies was always inevitable and could define the coming months of a scattered and unpredictable Republican primary. And Shaw himself was proud of his heroic effort. “I was just doing my job, asking that question,” he said years later. “I thought of Murrow taking on McCarthy. I’m not running against him or against anyone else.” How long Rubio can maintain the sunny demeanor that has personified his candidacy thus far is unclear.

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