In the seventh straight debate, and the fourth debate hosted by Fox, moderators again failed to ask Sen. Marco Rubio about his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Not once during the two-hour debate did Megyn Kelly and her fellow moderators ask donor-class favorite Marco Rubio about his longstanding support for President Barack Obama’s trade agenda. It was the last debate before the Iowa caucus. Failure to ask any questions about the TPP is especially noteworthy since Obamatrade has also been endorsed by Fox News’s founder, Rupert Murdoch.
Rubio has previously endorsed Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement—describing it as the “second pillar” of a President Rubio’s three-pillared foreign policy platform, and he voted to fast-track it over the summer. Bizarrely, in recent weeks Rubio has said that he will not reveal how he will ultimately vote on the deal he endorsed until May 18th, or later.
This means that Rubio is now refusing to tell Republican voters whether he will vote for Obama’s trade deal until two months after Super Tuesday—i.e. after 44 states have already voted and Republican voters can no longer make their voices heard on the matter.
As Breitbart News has previously reported, Fox News’s founder, Rupert Murdoch, has endorsed President Obama’s trade agenda. In May of last year, Murdoch joined executives at Goldmann Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley in signing a letter urging Congress to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
In stark contrast to Marco Rubio—who has outlined how the globalist trade deal is essential to his desire to bring about a “New American Century”—GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has made his opposition to “one-sided,” international trade deals a central plank of his conservative nationalism.
While Murdoch supports TPP, by a nearly five-to-one margin Republican voters believe that these so-called free trade deals reduce wages rather than raise them.
With respect to Murdoch’s network in particular, the Trump campaign highlighted a separate concern earlier this week. Namely, Trump’s campaign manager pointed out that Fox News’s vice president of news and Washington managing editor, Bill Sammon, is the father of Marco Rubio’s press secretary, Brooke Sammon.
“The Fox News executive who oversees the debate process, [his] daughter is a senior executive on the Marco Rubio campaign,” Trump’s campaign manager told CNN. “He’s one of the executives on Fox that writes the debate questions so maybe he has his own ulterior motives… maybe he should disclose that before he’s writing the debate questions for Fox.”
Anti-amnesty blogger Mickey Kaus mocked the conflict of interest on his Twitter page. Linking to a blog post that features a transcript of Chris Stirewalt explaining that Sammon is Fox’s “secret weapon… in crafting the questions,” Kaus tweeted:
It’s almost as if Fox honcho Bill Sammon’s daughter is a Rubio flack! At least he doesn’t write debate questions. Oh https://t.co/imsXrRkt7q
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) January 27, 2016
Prior to last night’s debate, Kaus tweeted about the first Fox News debate:
I’d think the Sammon/Sammon Fox/Rubio conflict is trivial–we’re all professionals in #thistown, etc.–except that I, um, watched the debate
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) January 27, 2016
After last night’s debate in which Rubio was not asked about his support for Obama’s trade agenda, the political class immediately began to pronounce Rubio as the winner of the debate. GOP pollster Frank Luntz tweeted:
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) January 29, 2016
Prior to the debate, Ann Coulter predicted that Fox, which she described as “implacably pro-open borders, pro-amnesty and, consequently, anti-Trump,” would inevitably declare Rubio to be the winner.
After each of the six debates, Fox News commentators, hosts, analysts, focus groups and body language experts all crapped on Trump and proclaimed pro-amnesty Rubio the winner. (By the fourth debate, I began playing “Carnac the Magnificent” on Twitter, predicting “Marco Rubio” to the question, “Who will Fox News claim won the debate?”).
However, as Breitbart’s Patrick Howley reported Friday, Frank Luntz had previously been on Rubio’s payroll, a fact which Fox did not disclose to its viewers:
Fox News used a pollster to host a pro-Sen. Marco Rubio focus group after Thursday night’s Republican debate, despite the fact that the pollster actually had Rubio as a client. Pollster Frank Luntz got significant airtime to direct a post-debate focus group that unsurprisingly was very favorable to Rubio, the GOP establishment pick in the primary race… Rubio actually had Luntz on his payroll at one time. Rubio hired Luntz to work on a document called ‘100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future.’ Fox News did not disclose Luntz’s past business relationship with Rubio Thursday night.
Interestingly, as Breitbart News reported last year, in the past, Luntz has previously advised Republican lawmakers on “how to deceive Americans into believing [the Obama-Ryan] trade deal is a good thing—when even Luntz’s polling data shows widespread opposition to it,” Breitbart wrote.
Luntz’s polling data—which was not intended to be available to the public—found that, “An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that ‘international trade’ benefits ‘other countries,’ not the United States. Luntz asked respondents: ‘Do free trade agreements [t]he U.S. has signed with other countries over the past 2 decades benefit other countries or the United States?’ A whopping 70 percent said other countries, while just 30 percent said the U.S.”
Based on this data, Luntz told Republicans on Capitol Hill that they ought to give globalist trade deals a “name change”: “’International Trade’ Needs A Name Change… because they [the American people] associate it with benefiting other countries—not the U.S.”
Luntz’s data seems to underscore the significance of the news networks’s decision not to press Rubio on his support for these international trade deals.