12/16/15

Yesterday CNN hosted the latest Republican Presidential Debate and the final one for 2015.

To all accounts, it was a pretty good debate and CNN moderators, led by Wolf Blitzer, did a pretty good job.

I see it differently.

For the sake of fair disclosure, two points about me first:

  • I have a very dim view, intense dislike, of CNN in general and Wolf Blitzer, in particular. I find them slimy. Biased—very biased—but in a dishonest, underhand manner. Blitzer is the master of showing intense bias via timing, underhand comments, slanting of questions, and other small things which, together, create an impression WITHOUT the viewer even noticing that he/she is led to a specific, biased view by the moderator.
  • Marco Rubio had a less than impressive night yesterday. Most pundits think he had a reasonable night; I do not think so. I try very much to be objective, but I cannot rule out the possibility that because I support Rubio I may be oversensitive to his “fortunes.”

So, here are some undisputed facts about the debate yesterday:

  • Trump and Cruz were expected to go after each other and the moderators made a faint effort (one question to each) to get those two to do it. They did not. Before the debate started, CNN showed what was happening back stage and it showed that Trump and Cruz came late to the lineup, and together. As soon as I saw that, I suspected that the two of them had a few seconds confab and decided to not attack each other. I was right.
  • The moderators did everything possible—with much intensity (many questions)—to get Cruz and Rubio to attack each other, and they succeeded. Contrary to what some pundits are saying, it was Cruz, egged on by the questions from the moderators, who started the attacks and Rubio who reacted. Look for yourself and see.

I believe that CNN treated Rubio unfairly that they are biased against him. It was all in the sum total of very small, but numerous, things. As an example:

  • He was asked tough questions in areas that are not his strength.
  • He was able to speak/respond in areas that are his strength, but his time was limited, in general.
  • The moderators cut short audience applause in his favor (but not applause for others).
  • Moderators allowed Cruz or Paul to have the last word every time in the tit for tat type exchanges with Rubio when, according to the rules, he was supposed to be allowed to respond after he was attacked by name.

If you think that I am wrong and that I am oversensitive, please explain how the pre- and post-debate panel of commentators assembled by CNN came to include a Cruz ex-national campaign spokeswoman? She was obviously, and effectively, very much pre-Cruz and anti-Rubio. Knowing that they are planning a line of questions that will likely result in these two going after each other—why would they give Cruz such an advantage in the pre/post-debate? Why not have someone from the Rubio campaign too? Even if it is an ex-person who is clearly in favor of his ex-boss? And if there is any doubt in your mind that this was a planned and anti-Rubio move, please explain to me why they also had an ex-Trump person on the panel? So, of the three main protagonists, TWO were represented. Rubio was not.

This raises the question, why? What is CNN’s motive to knock Rubio down? The simple answer is that, on all accounts—and clearly in the polls—the most dangerous Republican from Hillary Clinton’s point of view is Marco Rubio. He is the one that the Hillary campaign fears most and the only one that, based on polls, clearly beats her.

I do not know if the CNN team planned it and overtly discussed it amongst themselves. They do not need to. They are all in the Clinton camp and instinctively know what to do to bolster her chances.