Although Thursday night’s first GOP presidential debate moderated by Fox News Channel hosts Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly has reportedly drawn a massive audience, there are some that questioning the tactics employed by those moderators.
Front-runner Donald Trump cited “The Kelly File” host Kelly by name in a scrum of reporters following the debate held at Quicken Loans Arena after being targeted by her for previous comments he had made about women and called the question “unfair.”
Trump’s sentiment was also echoed by a personality on Fox News’ rival, MSNBC. “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough noted that Trump was subject to different treatment than the rest of the candidates.
The questions to Trump are so much more personal and pointed than the ones asked of every other candidate. It’s not even a close call.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 7, 2015
However, back in August 2013, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus promised a different brand moderators in future debates than in the previous debates. He explained to Andrea Tantaros, host of the now-defunct “Andrea Tantaros Show” that in order to avoid the “circular firing squad,” future moderators would not be ones that were not in the GOP’s best interest.
“You only have so many debates,” Priebus said. “We’re not going to do a 23-debate circus again. So we’re probably going to be somewhere between eight debates. You know, we ought to stop picking moderators that aren’t in our best interest and this is part of it. So, we’re also saying to these guys, ‘Look, we have to have people that are involved that actually care about the future of not just our country, but our party doing these debates and you are obviously taking it to a different level. Therefore, we’re cutting you out.’ That’s a reasonable thing for me to be doing.”
Priebus went on to suggest partnering with talk radio when asked by Tantaros about the possibility of Mark Levin or Sean Hannity as fellow moderators.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor