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CNBC, NBC News shills axed from Republican debate circuit

Written By | Oct 30, 2015

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2015 – It’s trick-or-treat time for the cadre of partisan hacks who’ve been running NBC News and its CNBC cable affiliate. Both are what Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio so aptly termed the Democrats’ “ultimate super PAC.”

Rubio, as well as Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Chris Christie, lambasted CNBC’s obviously partisan and antagonistic moderators for their trivial questions and their lack of professional respect during Wednesday’s Republican debate, which was hosted on that cable network.

In the best Republican Halloween “trick” imaginable, Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Preibus has just sent a letter to head of Comcast’s once-respectable news affiliate. The letter states that RNC is “suspending” its “partnership” with NBC News for the party’s crucial upcoming debate at the University of Houston, scheduled for Feb. 26, 2016. The move will cost NBC News millions of dollars in advertising revenues.

Read also: Ted Cruz destroys media hacks in CNBC Republican debate

It’s too bad Priebus didn’t sever ties with yet another Comcast affiliate, CNN, when, in a televised 2012 presidential debate, their own Democratic plant, debate “moderator” Candy Crowley. Crowley openly and notoriously sabotaged Republican candidate Mitt Romney by feeding an obviously disorganized President Obama key talking points countering Romney on the Benghazi issue. Those talking points, although later proven to be wrong, effectively thwarted a clear Romney victory in that debate.

Read also: CNBC moderators cross the line into hostility during GOP Debate

That said, today’s RNC missive is at least better late than never. Perhaps the Republican establishment is finally figuring out you can take no prisoners with these people.

Here’s the full text of the RNC letter to the Chairman of NBC News, with key points italicized:

Mr. Andrew Lack
Chairman, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112

Dear Mr. Lack,

I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016. The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.

The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.

CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.”  That was not the case. Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case.  Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.

While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of “gotcha” questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates. What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.

I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not.

While we are suspending our partnership with NBC News and its properties, we still fully intend to have a debate on that day, and will ensure that National Review remains part of it.

I will be working with our candidates to discuss how to move forward and will be in touch.


Reince Priebus

Chairman, Republican National Committee

We should point out that as usual in political correspondence, this letter contains enough weasel words that it’s possible for NBC News somehow to get back in RNC’s good graces in time to co-host the February 2016 debate after all.

That said, however, if at this point Priebus and the RNC would actually believe one single promise that’s offered by the known liars who run NBC and NBC news, they’ll richly deserve to get the axe themselves.

*Cartoon by Branco. Reprinted with permission and by arrangement with LegalInsurrection.

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17