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Republican Candidates Should Spend The CNN-Moderated Debates Trashing CNN

What might Republican voters think of CNN moderating the next two debates?

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This story has been updated to reflect that the RNC did not partner with CNN for this debate, but will be voting on whether to release candidates from their exclusivity agreement.

Imagine there was a national “news” network designed to tear down a major political party and antagonize its voters as domestic extremists whose very existence endangers democracy. Now imagine candidates from said political party co-opted that same network to run not one, but two presidential debates days before the first primaries. Such is the case with Republicans working with CNN to run the next two presidential prime-time showdowns in January.

Hours after the final four candidates competing to replace former President Donald Trump as the party standard-bearer stepped down from the debate stage in Alabama, CNN announced the network will program the next two forums.

“The first debate will take place on January 10 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, less than a week before Iowa caucusgoers weigh in on the Republican presidential race,” CNN reported. “The second debate will be January 21 at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire.”

What might Republican voters think of this choice of network — which became the go-to outlet for the partisan operatives on the Jan. 6 Committee — to moderate the next two debates? Will they be concerned that the network known for its endless promotion of the Russia hoax is now in charge of facilitating what could be the final forums for the Republican primary? Or is it the network’s fascination with smearing Republican voters as white supremacists that’s most offensive?

While the debates are not officially sponsored by the Republican National Committee (RNC), the party “is expected to announce this week it will release candidates from its requirement that prevents them from participating in non-RNC-sanctioned debates,” according to CNN.

The remaining Republicans in the race should respond with a decision to boycott the debate. In all likelihood, however, only Trump will stay off the stage. Those who do attend should collectively use the airtime to trash the network that’s become emblematic of everything wrong with corporate media, Gingrich-style. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was one of the first presidential candidates to successfully capitalize on disparaging the media in a campaign. At the 2012 Republican debate in South Carolina, Gingrich embarrassed the network for opening the presidential forum with a salacious question about the candidate’s previous marriage.

“The destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that,” Gingrich said. The former speaker of the House was the Republican front-runner by the following week.

In November, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy arguably won the NBC-moderated debate by condemning the network’s complicit coverage of the Russia hoax and demanded that RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel resign over her choice of outlet to run the forum. In what became the standout moment of the evening, Ramaswamy called out debate moderator Kristen Welker from the stage:

Think about who’s moderating this debate. This should be Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, and Elon Musk. We’d have 10 times the viewership, asking questions that GOP primary voters actually care about, and bring in more people to our party. You think the Democrats — I mean we’ve got Kristen Welker here — you think the Democrats would actually hire Greg Gutfeld to host a Democratic debate? … Kristen, I’m gonna use this time — because this is actually about you and the media and the corrupt media establishment — to ask you about the Trump-Russia collusion hoax that you pushed on this network for years. Was that real, or was that Hillary Clinton made-up disinformation? Answer the question, go.

Welker was left speechless as NBC was confronted with its corrupt coverage on its own network. CNN deserves the same treatment.

This article has been updated since publication.


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