Tragi-comedy On Screen at CNBC Debate

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The debate performance by the CNBC “moderators” was so imbecillically partisan that it was denounced as trash from all quarters as it was happening.

The consensus is that it was a debate between the GOP and the Democratic media, and that the former won, with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie doing the most to raise their profiles.

After a heretofore unknown (like most CNBC anchors frankly) Eddie Munster doppelgänger, Carl Quintanilla, asked a question about Fantasy Football. Jeb Bush obediently answered it (pathetically demonstrating why he is not qualified for office and has little support among voters), but Chris Christie observed that the CNBC crew had asked no questions about real issues–the 19 trillion in debt crippling the American economy, the millions persistently unemployed and underemployed under 7 years of Obamanomics, the rise of ISIS savagery under Obama’s foreign policy failures, the transformation of America into a third world banana republic where government agencies like the IRS spy on citizens and attack political rivals–instead asking questions about the employment histories and credit card debts of the candidates.

Christie came off as at least a minor star of the evening, along with Sen. Rubio. He attacked the media bias, at one point observing that “even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.” Christie also challenged John Hardwood on the moderators’ constant interruptions and cutting off of the candidates’ attempts to give answers, asking whether “you [moderators] would like to give the answers.”

Christie’s common sense responses–which only seemed bombastic compared to the dithering of Bush, the sudden mellowness of Trump, and the persistent underperformance of Rand Paul–reminded me why Ann Coulter found him so welcome in the 2012 campaign.

The unrelenting list of silly, picayune questions made it obvious, as Marco Rubio observed, that mainstream media corporations are themselves unregulated Super PACS that provide the Democratic Party establishment with billions of dark money dollars of free advertising and negative campaigning in every election cycle.

Media analyst Bernie Goldberg opined that the CNBC troika of John Harwood,  Quintanilla, and Becky Quick didn’t realize that the cumulative effect of their off topic questions–often embedded in long statements where allegations of dubious accuracy where presented as facts–was to completely discredit them. The CNBC moderators began by asking if the large number of GOP contenders weren’t a “comic book version” of a campaign, not realizing they were a reductio ad absurdum of, a comic book version of, media bias.

The CNBC moderators were repeatedly booed by the live audience.

Ted Cruz’s summation of the entirety of CNBC’s silly questions as showing why “the American people do not trust the media” topped Facebook and Twitter. On the latter, thousands of Tweets used the terms “bad” or “awful” for the moderators, and more than  2,000 used “terrible.”

Criticism of CNBC extended far beyond the media analysts at FOX News. Around the country (and the world) viewers with no dog in the GOP fight denounced CNBC for its shoddy pseudo-journalism.

Neil Irwin, an economics reporter at the liberal New York Times Tweeted: “Wait am I correct that there has been a daily fantasy sports regulation question but not a Wall Street regulation question?”

Alicia Dearn, one of the ballot access lawyers for likely Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (who filed a federal anti-trust suit against the Presidential Debate Commission earlier this month) took to social media to reply to my own stream of caustic and somewhat profanity laced live tweeting of the CNBC criminality: “@BruceMajors4DC I’ve never watched CNBC before. I hate them already and will never give them my eyeballs again.” Ms. Dearn added on Facebook:

So up for more torture watching debates. I’d like to just listen to people answer questions on policy.

Instead, I’m already irritated by the badgering style of the moderators. This is not a wrestling smackdown. Come on people!  Badgering bothers me in law, too. I have never found a badgerer to be intelligent or worth listening to.  So far, I’ve liked CNN the best. CNBC anchors are monkeys throwing poo at the stage.  I need wine.”  And then added:  “Ted Cruz just let them have it and said exactly what was on my mind. Best moment in any debate so far. Worth the price of admission.

I tweeted to the official debate hashtag that the few respectable CNBC commentators were going to be damaged by the bias. “#CNBCGOPDebate crew so crapulent, @SantelliRants and @larry_kudlowreputations damaged by sharing stage with them #tcot.” Santelli apparently agreed. While on stage as a co-moderator he immediately favorited my tweet.

The new bride of former Rand Paul speechwriter and book co-author Jack Hunter had the wisest approach to the debates. Brittany Elisa-Leme Hunter reported:

I watched four hours of Scandal while all of you were getting worked up watching the debates. You guys enjoy Facebook fighting with each other…I’ll be over here enjoying Netflix and eating Sour Patch watermelons. ‪#‎OliviaPope2016.

Since she didn’t see it, Mrs. Hunter doesn’t know a different scandal was showing over on CNBC.


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