Grassroots conservative group Citizens for the Republic has surveyed the wreckage of the CNBC debate, and is calling upon the Republican National Committee to let conservative media professionals moderate a debate:
To the great disappointment of the Conservative Movement, the Republican National Committee has chosen liberal moderators to handle the Republican presidential primary debates. To the surprise of nobody, the debate that ensued consisted of moderators insulting, demeaning and embarrassing the Republican candidates who participated.
Indeed, in the words of Reagan’s own Attorney General Ed Meese, “After 15 minutes it was clear that this was not a debate, but a verbal shooting gallery set up by CNBC, with the targets the Republican candidates and the shooters their biased antagonists from the press.”
If this comes as a surprise to the Republican National Committee, it shouldn’t. The Republican National Committee offered sanctioned debates to left-leaning networks such as NBC and CNN, yet offered nothing to actual conservative opinion leaders such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who together influence more Republican primary voters than all the television networks combined. As a result, the past three debates have come across as reality television instead of a serious debate on the issues.
“This election is too important to be left in the hands of the mainstream media outlets that do not respect the candidates or their issues. Conservative media outlets who speak to millions of voters every day deserve a place at the table in the Republican primary debate,” said Diana Banister, Executive Director of Citizens for the Republic. “The conservative movement is tired of watching candidates seeking the Republican nomination being forced to stand before a panel of liberal media activists to answer questions of zero relevance, yet designed to bring chaos and disorder to the Republican’s chance to win the race for the White House. Conservatives across the nation demand the Republican National Committee sanction at least one debate that actually focuses on issues the voters care about by inviting respected conservative opinion leaders Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity & Glenn Beck to moderate said debate.”
This is a terrific idea. Why not let conservatives with enormous audiences moderate a debate about conservative politics?
Their presence would surely bring additional viewers, along with a tremendous amount of media synergy. Any network marketing department worth its salt – including mainstream media networks – should salivate at the thought of people like Ingraham, Levin, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck talking up a debate for days beforehand on their popular radio and television shows.
Perhaps a few liberal voters could be turned off a debate hosted by conservative media stars, but it’s hard to imagine the net result would not be a huge audience gain. Look at it this way: no liberal planning to hate-watch a Republican presidential debate will be less likely to tune in because Rush Limbaugh will be asking the questions.
As for the true audience of these debates, Republican primary voters, they deserve a chance to see their candidates respond to questions from the top names in conservative media. Some argue that it’s useful to see the GOP candidates go through trials by fire at the hands of liberal moderators, but it would also be instructive to see how they handle a grilling from Mark Levin.
For that matter, why don’t we let Democrats go through a trial by fire for once, and give them a debate moderated by conservative opinion leaders?
That’s up to the DNC, of course, and they probably won’t jump at the opportunity presented by Citizens For the Republic. But the RNC should grasp for it.