RNC Won’t Let NBC Do February GOP Debate Because CNBC Didn’t Give Jeb Bush Enough Airtime

RNC Won’t Let NBC Do February GOP Debate Because CNBC Didn’t Give Jeb Bush Enough Airtime

In an effort to both play up to the GOP’s concerns with the liberal lamestream media and to find a way to save establishment favorite Jeb Bush’s sinking campaign, the Republican National Committee announced on Friday that they are suspending their partnership with NBC. The network is supposed to host a GOP primary debate in February in conjunction with conservative publication National Review. However, after candidates and pundits complained about the ‘biased’ questions they received from CNBC’s moderators at Wednesday night’s debate, the committee decided to jump on the media-hating bandwagon and take the debate away from NBC.

While chairman Reince Priebus released a statement detailing the reasons for the decision, citing the NBC-affiliated channel’s “mean-spirited tone” and “gotcha questions” that were meant to embarrass the participants, there appears to be another element at play here. Per Politico, officials from the RNC complained midway through Wednesday’s debate over the lack of airtime and questions Jeb Bush was receiving. Previously, it had only been disclosed that Jeb’s campaign manager had whined about how his man was being treated.

From Politico’s piece:


In the middle of the CNBC hosted Republican debate, RNC chief strategist and spokesperson Sean Spicer and chief of staff Katie Walsh approached CNBC officials. According to a source familiar with the encounter, the two had a complaint: Jeb Bush wasn’t getting enough questions.

The same complaint had come from Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz, though Bush spokesperson Tim Miller said he was not aware of the encounter between the RNC officials and CNBC. The source familiar with the encounter said Spicer and Walsh did not bring up any other candidates.

Spicer did not respond to a request for comment about the encounter.


Coming into the debate, everyone knew that Jeb! needed a strong performance to keep his floundering campaign alive. The Summer of Trump and the rise of Ben Carson has totally taken the donor-class-backed Bush by surprise, and the billionaires are now starting to get worried. Jeb has been mired in the single-digits in Republican polls for months now and is seeing other conventional candidates like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz pass him up. His performance on Wednesday was both desperate (the Rubio exchange) and listless (the rest of the time). While others bulldozed the overmatched moderators to get time or make political hay, Bush just licked his wounds and wished for the whole thing to be over.

The thing is, though, Jeb! is still seen as the candidate the establishment wants to back. They need him to get back. Therefore, they need the debate organizers to play ball and treat him like a frontrunner, even though Republican voters have shown they want nothing to do with him now. (They are completely drunk on the crazy at this point!) CNBC merely took their lead from the previous two debates, where moderators asked pointed questions that were meant to create a combativeness between the candidates. (When you have 10-11 people on stage, you kind of need that, honestly. It’s the only way to really spread the time around.)

After the Democrat’s first debate on CNN this month, and the fact that it received high marks all around from the media and voters, Republicans didn’t want another circus to prove that they aren’t serious about running the country. However, all of them have spent months trying to compete with the know-nothingness of Trump and Carson, meaning that their own policy proposals can’t be taken seriously when scrutinized, like at a debate. Therefore, the only thing left to do it turn your ire at the media and lob grenades at them. It works magically with average conservative voters, as they will always believe the LIBRUL MEDIA is in the tank for Democrats.

Here’s the thing, though. No matter what Priebus or the other campaigns do to try to force debate moderators to pander to them and play ball, they are still left dealing with their own internal insanity. As long as Trump and Carson are leading the pack, it is going to be a fucking shitshow. That’s all there is to that.


Image via Getty

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.