RNC spokesman: Time to let conservative media moderate presidential debates

posted at 2:41 pm on May 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Probably at least one cycle past time, but, er .. better late than never. RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told Newsmax host Steve Malzburg that the Republican Party plans to significantly change its approach to presidential debates in the primary cycle, reducing their numbers and perhaps reducing their exposure to moderators from traditional media outlets with axes to grind. The RNC wants to get conservative media involved in parallel, if not as a complete replacement (via Newsbusters):

“ For too long, it’s been the media that’s decided when we’re going to debate, who is going to be in the debate, what questions are going to be asked, what subjects are going to be forward….As we all know, the liberal media does not have the interest of the party at hand . . . You should not just have left-wing, liberal moderators asking questions of our candidates and determining that.”

“Some of the folks in the media try to prepare this as, ‘Oh, you guys don’t want to face tough questions.’ This has nothing to tough questions,” Spicer insisted. “Anyone who has listened to your show, or read Breitbart or The Daily Caller, knows that conservative media is a heckuva lot tougher than mainstream media, but they’re focused on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists, as opposed to the left-wing liberals out there,”

Spicer added: “And so one of the things that we recognize is that they have a voice in this process. And we need to get people from Newsmax, people from The Daily Caller, people from The Washington Examiner, people from Breitbart….National Review, legitimate conservative journalists need to have a voice in questioning the Republican candidates for the nomination.”

Spicer also mentions Townhall.com, our sister site, which is part of Salem Communications. That includes the Salem Radio Network, which would give the RNC a pretty significant media platform from which to broadcast a debate or two. If the GOP debates got C-SPAN coverage — which would probably not be difficult to arrange — them having a couple of Salem debates would be an easy way to bypass the traditional media outlets, and to put any number of excellent conservative thinkers on a moderator panel, starting with syndicated SRN radio hosts like Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and Michael Medved, and a few of our writers as well.

This makes a lot of sense, and it raises the question of why the RNC didn’t at least try this in one of the two dozen debates sanctioned by state parties in the 2012 cycle. One answer is that party rules in that cycle gave the national committee less leverage in the process. Those rules are changing with the cooperation of the state parties (or at least their RNC representation), so opportunities may soon arise for this kind of alternative.

That’s not to say that the GOP will entirely snub the traditional outlets, but it does put more pressure on them to play it straight in the debates. If they don’t, the RNC can go full native and cut them out entirely. Media outlets will still be forced to report on the debates regardless of whether they participate or not, so the rise of the alternative-media infrastructure gives most of the leverage to the Republican Party. Let’s see if they follow through and use it.

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Hold on tight to your azzes.

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

What a refreshing idea…

OmahaConservative on May 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Yes, yes, the above is all on topic. Most all items are, really.

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

OT: AoS is off-line … as is the entire mu.nu domain (there are several sites in the right sidebar at hot-air that are probably affected).

Out of Service Announcement

gh on May 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Isn’t Candy available?
She’s unbiased, let’s use her.

Tard on May 12, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Did these RNC spokesholes just wake up stupid one day? Or have they always been this stupid? Maybe the RNC should take selfies and hold up cards with #ConservativeMediaDebates on it first to see if anyone car5es…

oscarwilde on May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Get Mark Levin in there. He’s a sharp guy with the constitutional understanding I’d like to see more politicians faced with.

Meric1837 on May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I’m more interested in having conservative candidates. And on what planet is Medved a conservative, lol? Maybe he can ask the candidates if they believe in bigfoot like he does.

xblade on May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Good sign

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

AN idea so obvious and overdue that it is likely to never happen.

Skwor on May 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Don’t make broadcast arrangements with any media company, just stream it for free on Youtube and UStream, and allow any network to broadcast it.

commodore on May 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Candy Crowley binge eating White Castles to drown out her sorrows…

PatriotRider on May 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

What a refreshing idea…

OmahaConservative on May 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Yeah. It would be nice if the questions weren’t along the lines of:

Are you a racist?

When do you claim you stopped being a racist?

Well, if you aren’t a racist, why is it that you hate women instead?

trigon on May 12, 2014 at 2:53 PM

AN idea so obvious and overdue that it is likely to never happen.

Skwor on May 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

You would think, but then again, the GOP Leadership is extremely fond of taking advice from their enemies, so…

oscarwilde on May 12, 2014 at 2:53 PM

…the RINO’s won’t go for it!

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Best title in a long time

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Do you really need a moderator? Especially, if it’s one-one-one. Wouldn’t it be better if these guys worked off the cuff.

Oil Can on May 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

I’d actually pay money to see Allah Pundit moderate a debate with a bag over his head…Y’know anonymity…

: )

workingclass artist on May 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Ya think?

WhatSlushfund on May 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Candy Crowley binge eating White Castles…followed by krispy creme chasers to drown out her sorrows…

PatriotRider on May 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

fify

workingclass artist on May 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

They should just let Hot Airians (the commenters, I mean) grill em. Only the strongest would survive.

WhatSlushfund on May 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Go OR!!!

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

RNC spokesman: Time to let conservative media moderate presidential debates

Why on earth would a Republican spokesman think he’s going to have an easier go of it with a Conservative moderator?

Or is this just more evidence that the Republicans don’t have a clue?

/never mind- rhetorical

M240H on May 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM

No! I want Gimme-More-Candy Crowley at all debates! Arrrggh.

Xanatos90 on May 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM

They should just let Hot Airians (the commenters, I mean) grill em. Only the strongest would survive.

WhatSlushfund on May 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

I dunno…

see Palin…Perry…Romney threads…

*snicker*

workingclass artist on May 12, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Lugar, go to Hell.

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

It’s an idea that is so deeply ingrained in common sense that is must be racist/homophoic/bigoted. Ergo, the GOP will not adopt it.

nobar on May 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM

RNC spokesman: Time to let conservative media moderate presidential debates

Why on earth would a Republican spokesman think he’s going to have an easier go of it with a Conservative moderator?

Or is this just more evidence that the Republicans don’t have a clue?

/never mind- rhetorical

M240H on May 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Maybe he’s thinking the topics will stay on economics…foreign policy…and the constitution.

The liberals want to concentrate on ID politics that knee jerk emotions…

all the isms and phobias

workingclass artist on May 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM

This is a real No Sh!t Sherlock.

docflash on May 12, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Why should this even be a question? Look at the list of “demands” that the Dems have before they agree not to boycott the Benghazi committee.

ncinca on May 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Be careful what you wish for. The last thing anyone in the party should want is an intra-party food fight that plays out on national TV.

We are indeed our own worst critics. But if these debates focus on issues only important to the core Republican voters and not to the broader electorate, they will hurt more than help.

Marcus Traianus on May 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Off the top of my head:
-
Steve Malzberg
Laura Ingraham
Mark Levin
Michael Graham
Charles Krauthammer
Michelle Malkin
Alan Keyes
Herman Cain
Bill Whittle

diogenes on May 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Fine, as long as you media idiots separate “GOP” from “Conservative”. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Diluculo on May 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM

If anyone can define “conservative” it would be a good start. Apparently it has more to do with the jerseys the team wears than ideology.

Another Libertarian on May 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Bill Whittle

diogenes on May 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

He might be the best.

Oil Can on May 12, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Brit Hume or Brett Baier would be solid.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on May 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Why can’t they hold all the debates on Fox?

weedisgood on May 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

issues to focus on: Obamacare, Debt, Regulations, Federal Reserve, Crony Capitalism, Amnesty, NSA Spying

issues to avoid: birth control, evolution, gay marriage, global warming

commodore on May 12, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Probably at least one cycle past time, but..

At least one cycle. But yep, better late than never.

Nominee for First Debate Moderator: Captain Ed!

petefrt on May 12, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Meric1837 on May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Levin would be awesome. Hope he mods at least one debate.

petefrt on May 12, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Every debate should have 2 moderators.
Debate # 1 : Michelle Malkin and Candy Crawley

Debate # 2 : Bill Whittle and Al Sharpton

Debate # 3 : Mark Levin and some black lesbian woman from PBS

Debate # 4 : Greg Gutfeld and Juan Williams

burrata on May 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Why can’t they hold all the debates on Fox?

weedisgood on May 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM

becuz marxists are scared of Fox ?

burrata on May 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

I am sick to my stomach thinking of the possibility we will have Democrat Senator and Governor here in Georgia. Plus it’s like going back to the 70s with progeny of Sam Nunn and the faux peanut farmer running.
Ugh!

Brat on May 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Brit Hume or Brett Baier would be solid.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on May 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM
Good choices and in the realm of possibility.
(Just not Bill O’Reilly)

diogenes on May 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

You have to admit those guys are geniuses. Who would have ever thought of this?

Viator on May 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

(Just not Bill O’Reilly)

diogenes on May 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

BlowReilly should write a book :
Killing Stevens

burrata on May 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Spicer also mentions Townhall.com, our sister site, which is part of Salem Communications.

Can’t wait to see Allahpundit (with a bag over his head) on the panel asking softball questions to fellow RINO Chris Christie…good times ahead! ;)

Vigilante on May 12, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Mark Levin- He’ll crush them with “shaddup while I educate you, you big dope” when they outright lie. It would be awesome!

ninjacoastie on May 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Yes, most any of the conservative fox or talk radio types would be good. The best would be Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, and Mark Levin.

sauldalinsky on May 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Hugh Hewitt deserves major kudos for this.

He would press Reince Preibus EVERY interview for this; going way back.

Hugh would also be a terrific moderator of a primary debate.

aquaviva on May 12, 2014 at 4:36 PM

burrata on May 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Good idea. You should email that to him. Keep it pithy. Name and town, name and town if you wish to opine.

Brat on May 12, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Mark Levin- He’ll crush them with “shaddup while I educate you, you big dope” when they outright lie. It would be awesome!

ninjacoastie on May 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

“Get off the podium, you big dummy!”

slickwillie2001 on May 12, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I can hear it now, “Senator, do you think these sluts should be allowed to have an abortion?”

cimbri on May 12, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Where is this conservative media you speak of?

Even Fox tilts to the left more and more.

nazo311 on May 12, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Ed Morrissey for Moderator!

John the Libertarian on May 12, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Past time. It took Candy Crowley to finally show these fools that letting lefties moderate ANY GOP debates is foolish in the extreme. I nominate Rush Limbaugh, Brit Bauer and Bret Hume. No MSMers allowed.

neyney on May 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Unfortunately the RINO National Committee doesn’t want tough moderators like Hewitt, Levin, Steyn, Kelly, Hume, Perino, or Ingraham just to name a few. Also, Preibus, Boehner, and McConnell are the absolute weakest public speakers in leadership positions today. PS: Two in the bush are enough. No more Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys, community organizers, attorneys, college educators, union thugs, or VP Gunsmokes. How about a strong, conservative military man or woman? I like someone who thinks, acts, and speaks like Charles Barkley, upfront, boldly, and without hesitation. How about someone who has actually worked. Finally, secure the border, build the fence, shut-up.

philoise65 on May 12, 2014 at 5:03 PM

How about moderators from within the range of candidates remaining, or electorate claimed to be willing to vote Republican.

Devout Marxists are unlikely to vote for the “R” candidate, so shouldn’t be primary moderators of a party whose platform is diametrically opposed to Marxism. If this becomes the perceived wisdom, then it will be legitimate to evaluate, and balance, the moderators come general election time.

jhnone on May 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I’m so accustomed to seeing the GOP wuss out and knuckle under (see Boehner’s statement that he will not consider arresting Lerner, even before the special committee investigation has started)that I don’t dare take heart in this. For now, it is only PR buzz…

jbspry on May 12, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Past time. It took Candy Crowley to finally show these fools that letting lefties moderate ANY GOP debates is foolish in the extreme. I nominate Rush Limbaugh, Brit Bauer and Bret Hume. No MSMers allowed.

neyney on May 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Not just her. Which idiot kept pressing the Republican candidates about a ban on contraceptives?

aunursa on May 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

It takes a special kind of tunnel vision to look at the flaming wreckage of 2012 and decide the problem was that the debates were far too mainstream.

You really want debates moderated by people who will egg candidates on to talk in ever more reactionary terms about abortion, rape, race, and every other topic the right collectively sucks at talking about?

Clearly the problem is that in 2012 you guys won too much of the vote, time to pare it back so that only the most devoutly pure conservatives would even think of pulling the lever for you.

Tlaloc on May 12, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Not just her. Which idiot kept pressing the Republican candidates about a ban on contraceptives?

aunursa on May 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Well you can thank Rush for his comment about Fluke being a slut. That really helped you guys not look like misogynists.

Tlaloc on May 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Ed Morrissey for Moderator!

John the Libertarian on May 12, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Please no. This would be Ed’s first foreign policy question:

“Heidi hoo neighbors! (referring to the candidates). We all know that most Muslims are wonderful people who deplore terrorism and that Islam is a religion of peace. But gosh golly, what do we do about the infinitesimally minute minority of extremists?”

WhatSlushfund on May 12, 2014 at 8:12 PM

conservative media is…focused on the issues that matter to conservatives and grassroots activists

If only the same were true of GOPe politicians.

xNavigator on May 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Personally I’d like to see Nick Gillespie have a chance to sling out some tough ones in a primary debate. Sure we need someone like Ed Morrissey up there asking questions. The way this article reads Nick doesn’t have a chance but Ed has one, however slim. Both would do well and drag out some good information for voters.

{^_^}

herself on May 13, 2014 at 5:28 AM