Up for debate: GOP candidates at the mercy of big media

From the outset, it seemed CNN modeled the GOP debate was to create a new version of American gladiator.

Jake Tapper at the CNN Debate (CNN)


SAN JOSE, Calif.,  Sept. 18, 2015 The second GOP debate Wednesday was ostensibly designed to help Republican and assorted other American voters get closer to a decision concerning who would be the best possible candidate to run for POTUS for the Republican Party in 2016. Yet, from the outset, it almost appeared like an attempt to create a new version of American gladiator. Reports from pundits across the country indicate that one of the real goals of this “debate” was to get Trump. Yet from a broader perspective, the effort was seemingly designed to initiate a political piranha free-for-all designed to do the most damage to all the candidates.

One simply needs to keep in mind the nature of the host network. Yet, it made for good television – good entertainment, as the politicians had to answer some tough questions on several issues. However, one wonders, why is it that CNN reporters cannot ask such heavy or tough questions of members of the current Obama administration? Too many times such  pressing or tough questions never make it past the throat of the designated correspondent when dealing with inconsistencies and outright lies provided by current or former members of the present government hierarchy. It reflects not only extreme bias, but a definite lack of professional integrity.

With respect to the “debate” format and flow, it is possible for Americans to get an idea of people in a defensive or aggressive mode. There is a sniff of the character that can emerge in such a format, and as Carly Fiorina reflected, a long campaign will tend to bring out the true colors of anyone. Yet, what would that look like? Hypothetically, it would not be much different than the bantering back and forth in the public arena, covered by the media, interpreted for the American people by political correspondents with varying degrees of expertise and plenty of personal opinion packaged as “expert perceptions.” In other words, the underlying presumption is that the people have to be told what to think about it.

Reflecting on America in the aftermath of 9/11

The other prevalent issue is that the media control the framework and content of what is being presented to the American people regarding any particular issue. Although the debate reflected some degree of freedom for each candidate to deal with questions fired at them, the process was designed to generate an onstage free-for-all, and to some extent it did. Wisely, some candidates did not take the bait. Except for one boisterous candidate who always seems brash, divisive and willing to attack anyone that may get in his way, the candidates remained civil under the circumstances. Yet, the purpose of the show was to spark a fight. There was evidence of those who were ready to fight, but overall, civility prevailed.

But, civility is not the normal way of politics. Practically speaking, one who enters the political arena almost always is expected to be a superior gladiator, and the best fighter wins the battle. Through such cutthroat battles of self-preservation, the best fighter prevails – kind of like a political “Hunger Games” – a candidate is forced within the political arena to kill off all his or her opponents. This happens currently in America. The Establishment Republicans want to kill off opposition to Jeb Bush or to Chris Christie; the conservatives want to rid themselves of a Bush candidacy; and the citizen-patriots, the non-politicians, are to be eliminated because they are “outsiders,” do not know the game and do not belong in the arena.

Big Media, like CNN, CBS, MSNBC and ABC, run the show within the political arena. Americans are conditioned to expect gladiators killing one another off in the fight for self-preservation. Yet, Big Media is not fair – it is hardly unbiased when it comes to the main event. Americans who are awake have discovered this. Donald Trump knows this and why he is playing so well within the media – and it should be obvious that not all bad publicity is bad. He is quite savvy about how Big Media operate. But one gets the impression with Trump that he is running to get the GOP nomination because the Democrats have allowed his business to slump since 2008, and that has negatively impacted his profit margin.

It is interesting that there seems to be a mood within the United States, certainly among a good segment of the conservative voters in the GOP, that the Republicans need a candidate who can “kick butt.” Trump appears to fill that need despite his previous stance on serious issues like immigration in the 2012 election (how soon Americans forget). Certainly, from the election in 2012 to the present there are plenty of people (not just Republicans) who are quite upset about the way the nation is trending away from the traditional values of the Founding Fathers, which means what it means to be an American seems to be up for grabs.

Patriot Day: Moving past the scars of 9/11

Mike Huckabee stated that anyone on the stage the other night was worthy of his respect and was not his enemy. That is a strong statement in light of the attempt at igniting a fight. There were many people of class on that stage and as Rush Limbaugh stated the other day, so much upon the stage was reflective of conservatism. Yet there was divisiveness. One would think that with one political party so bent on manifesting division within the nation over the past 12 years that people have had enough of divisive politics, or media moguls and political elites planning and determining the outcomes of presidential elections. Unfortunately, since the days of the first presidential administration, there have been media manipulation and divisive politics.

Yet, the real divisiveness is the trend to divide the people form the foundation of this nation, the values of the Founding Fathers and the principles for which they sacrificed and fought, and for which they were willing to give their lives. Nevertheless, it is no longer politics as usual in this time in America’s history. It is not really Republican vs. Democrat at this point in America’s political reality. The election in 2016 is about more than this duality or the various personal choices that may be out on the stump running for recognition and grabbing dollars on the fly. The 2016 election will have long-lasting implications for the future of those values for which the Founding Fathers sacrificed and for which many generations of Americans fought and died in their time.



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Dennis Jamison
Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.