RNC Chief Strategist Blasts Debates for Being More About ‘Gotcha’ Questions and Moderators than Candidates

Debate moderators Carl Quintanilla (L), Becky Quick (C) and John Harwood question candidates at the third Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNBC, October 28, 2015 at the Coors Event Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

On Breitbart News Saturday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist, criticized the media for making GOP presidential debates more about “gotcha questions” and the moderators than the candidates.

Speaking to host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon ahead of Tuesday’s Fox Business Network debate, Spicer acknowledged that “most conservatives, whether or not you’re running for office or not, watch programs and realize that there is an unbelievable difference with how conservatives are treated.”

CNBC was roundly criticized for its debate, which prompted RNC Chair Reince Priebus to suspend its ties with NBC and compelled the GOP presidential candidates to cut the RNC out of the debate negotiation process. And Spicer said the debates should be about “how the candidates distinguish themselves in the solutions they have for the big problems that America is facing” and “what we’re seeing is a bunch of series of gotcha-question interviews and not a debate amongst the candidates.”

He said “too often” the debates have “become about the moderator and not about the candidates.”

Spicer told Bannon that the format of the debates should “allow the candidates to express who they are and why they are seeking the presidency.”

Regarding media bias in general, Spicer said the “mainstream media approaches Republicans vastly different than they do with liberals and Democrats” because most reporters are liberal and “they approach every subject from that lens.” He said the “mainstream media start every interview with square one, we’re right, you’re wrong.”

He said “all you have to do is look at how Hillary is treated especially about Benghazi and the email scandal.”

“The benefit of the doubt is constantly going to Hillary,” Spicer said.

It is always well, she didn’t mean it or of course, she wouldn’t have known this. The default is to always to assume that Clintons and the liberals are right and can never do anything wrong. The default is always that conservatives must be doing something wrong, must be bad. And that’s the bigger problem.

Spicer’s remarks, especially about what Mark Levin said was the Praetorian Guard media that protects Democrats and Clinton, could leave one to wonder why the Republican National Committee awarded a majority of the debates in this election cycle to liberal media outlets in the first place. Perhaps RNC officials have never read “The Scorpion and the Frog.”

Allowing the mainstream media to moderate so many debates without expecting them to ask “gotcha questions” or making it about the preening moderators would be like having NBA referee Joey Crawford (referees who do the best job get the least amount of attention) call a game and not expect him to make it all about him.