I love debates. This week the debate between the Republican candidates for President was one of the most enjoyable I have watched.
The moderators were from CNBC. They tried their best to start fights with the candidates.
They repeated criticisms that one candidate had made against another to provoke a reaction. They insulted the candidates—asking Sen. Marco Rubio if certain personal debts of his were evidence that he was incapable of handling the financial affairs of the nation and asking Donald Trump if his campaign was really as a comic book character.
They hurled hints of hypocrisy by contrasting the social positions of companies upon whose board of directors the candidate had served and the personal views of the candidate.
In short, they missed the point of the debate. Viewers deserved a chance to hear the candidates discuss the issues. CNBC had a different goal.
If they hoped to demolish a candidate or expose character flaws, they should have done their homework.
They hit Ben Carson with one of the board of directors questions. Dr. Carson said, “I’ve never been on the board of directors.” The moderator insisted that he had. The evidence? Somebody had found a photo on the internet of Ben Carson with the logo of the company in the background. Every local reporter in this circuit is more diligent than that.
Or consider this exchange by one moderator with Donald Trump. She asked him about something he had been quoted as saying. Mr. Trump said, “I never said that.”
The moderator asked, “Well, where did I see that?”
Mr. Trump’s response, “I don’t know. You people will write or say anything.” A professional would have the quote available and would have attributed the source before asking the question.
Pretty soon the candidates weren’t debating each other. They were pouncing on the moderators.
Sen. Ted Cruz ridiculed the silly questions and urged a return to the issues. When one moderator asked Gov. Jeb Bush whether fantasy football should be regulated, Gov. Chris Christy exclaimed.“Fantasy football? The country is 15 trillion dollars in debt and you’re asking a question about fantasy football?”
One moderator attacked Sen. Rubio’s tax plan. Sen. Rubio reminded him that the attack had been made before by the network and retracted as erroneous. The moderator had egg all over his face.
It got so bad that Sen. Rubio, responding to a question about campaign finance, said, “Let’s not forget the biggest PAC for liberal politicians—the mainstream media.”
I don’t know why the moderators were so inept. I don’t know what their agenda was.
But, I know who won the debate.
The Republican candidates for President won hands down.
Scott Ballard is the District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Fayette, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties.