BREAKING: Republican Party Cancels NBC Debate Planned For February 2016

Reince Priebus Pic

It looks like the CNBC debate had a real impact on the GOP because the Republican National Committee has just announced it’s cancelling the NBC debate which was scheduled for February of 2016.

The Hill reports:

RNC pulls out of NBC debate

The Republican National Committee has pulled out of a planned Feb. 26 debate with NBC News after widespread criticism of this week’s CNBC debate from both the party and campaigns.

“We are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack.

“CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith,” Priebus wrote.
“I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not.”

He went on to pan CNBC for “inaccurate or downright offensive” questions, specifically singling out a question to Donald Trump, who was asked whether he was running a “comic book” version of a presidential campaign.

“While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,” he said.

“What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.

Here’s the text of the letter Reince Priebus sent to the head of NBC News:

Mr. Andrew Lack
Chairman, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112

Dear Mr. Lack,

I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016. The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.

The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.

CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.” That was not the case. Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed.

While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of “gotcha” questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates. What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.

I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not.

While we are suspending our partnership with NBC News and its properties, we still fully intend to have a debate on that day, and will ensure that National Review remains part of it.

I will be working with our candidates to discuss how to move forward and will be in touch.

Sincerely,

Reince Priebus
Chairman, Republican National Committee

UPDATE: This report from Politico might have something to do with the decision:

Exclusive: GOP campaigns plot revolt against RNC

Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee.

Not invited to the meeting: Anyone from the RNC, which many candidates have openly criticized in the hours since Wednesday’s CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado — a chaotic, disorganized affair that was widely panned by political observers.

On Thursday, many of the campaigns told POLITICO that the RNC, which has taken a greater role in the 2016 debate process than in previous election cycles, had failed to take their concerns into account. It was time, top aides to at least half a dozen of the candidates agreed, to begin discussing among themselves how the next debates should be structured and not leave it up to the RNC and television networks.

Comments

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning