Should the GOP send flowers to CNBC?
In today's must-read column, the Wall Street Journal's Bill McGurn thanks CNBC "for giving millions of Americans front-row seats to the press bias against Republicans."
People who deny media bias against Republicans got a setback when the CNBC moderator, John Harwood, and his team showed their contempt of the GOP candidates openly. But, as McGurn points out, it was an evening that presented great opportunities for the candidates. Because the CNBC team was so openly disrespectful, the candidates fought back, sometimes brilliantly, and there was no damaging Candy Crowley moment.
The great irony here is that it was precisely CNBC’s bias that made for such a good evening for Republicans. Republicans are always complaining about the media double standard—and last Wednesday night, CNBC gave millions of Americans the fully monty. Viewers also saw how powerful it can be when Republicans take the opportunity to turn questions back on their inquisitors.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving, moreover, as the one-line defense from CNBC spokesman Brian Steel insists on something no one is contesting: that those who run for “leader of the free world should be able to answer tough questions.”
Truth is, CNBC’s Waterloo had little to do with its moderators’ questions and everything to do with the snark and contempt they came drenched in. For example, Mr. Harwood’s characterization of Donald Trump’s bid as a “comic book version of a presidential campaign” did not make his question any tougher. It simply made it insulting.
McGurn also writes about the pro-big government assumptions embedded in the questions, which, as he says is fine–candidates should be able to take these questions. But Democrats are rarely subjected to the kind of grilling Republican candidates receive. McGurn poses some great questions for Democrats, and they are questions Anderson Cooper will never ask.
Sadly, the outrageous performance of CNBC's team probably means that media bias will go back underground, where it is more insidious, a la Crowley rather than being overt in the Harwood manner.
This Just In: President Obama just taunted the GOP candfidates at a New York fundraiser (where else?), saying that if they can't handle CNBC moderators, they are weaklings and won't be able to deal with Putin. I can think of somebody else who hasn't done a good job handling Mr. Putin.