LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16, 2016 — Sen. Ted Cruz was the clear winner in last night’s Republican debate in South Carolina. Cruz got in the most substantive comments, stood his ground when he was challenged and swept aside Donald Trump’s attempts to cast aspersions on Cruz’s citizenship status, while still coming off as friendly and affable.
You would not know this from most of the media coverage today. Either these journalists did not watch the same debate that we watched, or they have an agenda. If, as seems likely, media bias exists, the safe bet is an agenda.
It seems that most in the media—and probably some in the Republican establishment—would rather see Donald Trump nominated than Ted Cruz. On the one hand, the media story is that Trump will be the nominee no matter what anyone does; on the other hand, they say this will be a tragedy for the country.
Iowa polls show the two candidates in a dead heat, and national polls indicate that Cruz is edging closer to Trump. Yet the media ignore them, saying in essence, “move along, nothing to see here.”
The Associated Press gave Trump the win in its post-debate coverage. “Trump and Cruz starred in Thursday’s primetime event. And Trump, in particular, may have had his finest debate performance.”
While focusing on the Cruz and Trump battles, the newswire gave Trump the upper hand.
The real-estate mogul said he found that kind of talk “insulting.” And he seemed to show his softer side while reflecting on how New Yorkers came together after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “Everybody in the world watched, and everyone in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers,” he said.
“That was a very insulting statement that Ted made.”
Trump went full-on Christie: When all else fails, invoke 9/11. This writer is firmly in Matt Walsh’s camp on that one:
Can we make a law where any candidate who exploits 9-11 in a debate automatically gets their voice box surgically removed? #GOPDebate
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 15, 2016
The AP continued:
It was hard to imagine a stronger response from Trump, who puts a lot less time into debate preparations than his opponents. He seemed to handily win that exchange with Cruz, a former college debate champion.
The equally pandering CNN said of Trump:
The real estate developer effectively planted the idea in voters’ minds that Cruz’s Canadian birthplace could be a liability should Democrats challenge the Texas senator’s eligibility to run for president.
He did? From the boos coming from the crowd, as well as the Twitter responses, this is extremely doubtful.
Ted Cruz is crushing Trump on this "natural born citizen" topic. #GOPDebate
— Chidike Okeem (@VOICEOFCHID) January 15, 2016
Even New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof sided with the facts:
Ted Cruz is right that the law is clear: A child of a US citizen born abroad is a "natural-born citizen" eligible for the presidency.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) January 15, 2016
Neither of these outlets mentioned the continuation of the exchange between Cruz and Trump, where Cruz handily beat Trump down:
“Since September the constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have. I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling … but the facts of the law here are clear.”
Cruz lobbed this surprise salvo, saying if Trump’s backers were right, Trump himself wouldn’t be eligible: His mother was born in Scotland. “On the issue of citizenship, Donald, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you,” the senator wryly said.
Trump blustered in his usual fashion, but Cruz effectively sucked the wind out of his sails. Cruz: 1, Trump: 0.
Cruz and Trump got the most air time of all the candidates on stage, with Cruz edging out Trump by 40 seconds. Cruz did an excellent job of sticking to the substantive issues presented by the Fox Business News moderators and of deflecting jabs from the other candidates.
So what is sweeping the news cycle? This Daily News’s front page headline: “Drop Dead, Ted. Hey, Cruz, You don’t like N.Y. Values? Go back to Canada!” Complete with a graphic of the Statue of Liberty giving him a one-fingered salute.
I don’t’ think Cruz has to explain anything more about “New York values.”
Other headlines are clearly intent on persuading the public that the Trump Train is unstoppable.
- From the Washington Free Beacon: “It’s Donald Trump’s Race to Lose”;
- The New Yorker: “Only Republican Voters Can Stop Donald Trump Now”; and
- ABC News: “Republican Debate Shows What Donald Trump Has Already Won.”
Talk radio host Mark Levin gave this warning back in November after the nuclear assault on then-front-runner Ben Carson: “The liberal media must not drive our election. The liberal media must not determine the Republican nominee. The liberal media must not drive our issues. The liberal media must not be permitted to destroy our candidates.”
It is Friday late afternoon in not-so-sunny California; the news cycle dictated by the East Coast is over. The dust has settled, and still few news outlets have cast Cruz’ debate performance in a positive light or given any quarter to the candidate who could well be the one to unseat Trump. It’s clear that the media does not care what Cruz says or what gains he makes; Donald Trump is the one they want as the Republican nominee.
The thought of a Cruz nomination scares them. That should give all conservatives food for thought.