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The CNBC Debate -- a Media Hit Job
If you know anything about how the so-called mainstream media operate, you know that liberal journalists will run over their grandmothers with a tractor-trailer truck to get a by-line or some face time on television, but will always salivate more when going after a Republican than a Democrat. And in the CNBC Republican presidential debate, we got the latest example of that.
For the record, I’m all for tough questions. Journalists have a responsibility to hold candidates for president responsible for their policy positions. They have an obligation to put them in the hot seat. But the overall tone of the debate wasn’t tough so much as it was snarky. And one of the moderators – John Harwood – was downright smug.
At one point Harwood asked Mike Huckabee about the cultural divide in America --but only in hopes of starting a food fight between Huckabee and Donald Trump.
“Governor Huckabee,” he began, “you've written about the huge divide in values between middle America and the big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles. As a preacher as well as a politician you know the president needs moral authority to bring the country together. The leading Republican candidate when you look at the average of national polls now is Donald Trump. When you look at him do you see someone who has the moral authority to run the country?”
When was the last time Harwood asked if Hillary Clinton had the moral authority to run the country? After all, in poll after poll a majority of the American people say they don’t trust her. In one survey the words most associated with her were “liar” and “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.”
And after Harwood asked a few more questions that might as well have been written by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her Democratic National Committee, Ted Cruz laid into him with what turned out to be the line of the night.
“You know let me say something at the outset,” Cruz said. “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”
Big applause from the audience.
“This is not a cage match,” he said. “And 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? Why don’t you talk about the substantive issues people care about?
More loud applause.
Marco Rubio got a few good shots in too. Much of the media, he said, was portraying Hillary Clinton as a big hero after the Benghazi hearing -- despite the fact that she was shown to be a liar when she said the violence at the consulate that left four Americans dead was the result of an anti-Muslim video, when her own emails proved she knew that wasn’t true.
The reaction from Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, may have been predictable, but it was legitimate nonetheless.
“The CNBC moderators acted less like journalists and more like Clinton campaign operatives,” he said. “What was supposed to be a serious debate about the many issues plaguing our economy was given up for one Democratic talking point after another served up by the so-call ‘moderators.’ They clearly war-gamed this thinking that a relentless series of personal attacks on the candidates would somehow drive their ratings and help Hillary Clinton.”
After the debate Bill O’Reilly asked me if NBC, the news organization that oversees CNBC, was in on the drive-by. I told him there was no conspiracy. No one met in a dark room, gave the secret handshake and salute, and said, “Let’s screw those Republicans.”
Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s groupthink. They’re liberal. They think pretty much alike. That’s the nature of liberal bias in the media: too many people thinking the same way. They don’t need marching orders to put out hits on Republican candidates for president. It just comes naturally to them.
But even though there’s a good chance the folks at CNBC are busy congratulating themselves on how wonderful they were, most “civilians” know the obvious truth: Liberal journalists don’t treat Democrats the way they treat Republicans. They slobbered over Barack Obama and they’ll slobber over Hillary Clinton. They’ll treat her campaign like a coronation and they’ll treat the Republican campaign like an anti-abortion rally.
Republicans don’t need an excuse to believe that liberal journalists are out to get them. Republicans have plenty of reasons not to trust the media. And the CNBC debate was only the latest one.