Media Matters' Eric Boehlert Dismantles GOP Claims Of “Liberal Media Bias” In The CNBC Debate

Boehlert: Fox And CNBC Asked Similar Debate Questions, But “When Fox News Said It, It Was OK”

From the November 5 edition of Wisconsin Public Radio's The Joy Cardin Show:

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ERIC BOEHLERT: To this day, I don't understand this sort of caterwauling that erupted after the CNBC debate. I think the CNBC debate had some pretty rough edges, and I think Fox and CNN did a better job keeping the discussion flow going. There was a couple times in the CNBC debate, you know, I wanted to hear what Jeb Bush had to say and I thought they cut him off. But that wasn't the complaint after the debate, right? During and after the debate. The complaint was, this is a conspiracy. Marco Rubio is talking about how the press is part of a Democratic super PAC to go easy on Hillary Clinton, and that they're all conspiring together to undermine Republicans. And you have to kind of chuckle. The first question at the Democratic debate to Hillary Clinton was basically, “Why are you such a phony?” But she didn't whine and she didn't complain. She put her head down and she went to work. And by the end of the debate, people thought she did very, very well. So blaming the liberal media, it seemed to me the Republicans kind of hit the panic button halfway through that debate. I think there might have been two reason why. A, Hillary Clinton was having very good October. She did very well in the debates. People thought she did very well in the Benghazi hearings. Her polls were certainly rebounding. And this was a debate, it was going to be about economics and tax policy, and you watched the debate -- you know, Ben Carson's been campaigning for nine months, he still didn't seem to be able to explain his tax policy. So I think there was a strategic move halfway through that debate to just say, “You know what, we're just going to blame you guys. We are going to blame the moderators.”


It was interesting, Erik Wemple at The Washington Post, after the CNBC debate, he did a piece and said these questions are pretty much the same questions Fox News asked at the first Republican debate. There were a lot of questions about polling -- why aren't you doing better? There were a lot of questions about this math doesn't add up. But when Fox News said it, it was OK, but when CNBC said it, it was a big problem. So, again, I think it was a different format, and I think they -- you know, it's interesting, Donald Trump said the CNBC debate -- he was on Twitter -- and he said the CNBC debate was unfair. And he said it hours before the debate started. So I've certainly been suspicious that this might have been a strategy among at least one or two of the candidates, again, bashing the media, the so-called liberal media, probably goes back about 50 years.


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