April 19, 2014

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The Debate About The Debates

Is there really a debate about this issue?

News Item from the Associated Press:

The Republican National Committee has approved a resolution to block two television networks from hosting GOP presidential primary debates.
   
Friday's vote affirms RNC chairman Reince Priebus's  threat against CNN and NBC unless the networks drop plans to air programs about possible Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton. The vote at the committee's summer meeting in Boston was unanimous.
   
Priebus said that the networks have, quote, "an obvious bias."

   
So the Republican Party is upset because NBC and CNN want to air movies about Hilliary Clinton, at a time, admittedly, when she would running for president.  It aims to "punish" those networks by not allowing them to host (and thus air) debates involving their candidates during primary season, and meaning they'll only be able to host Democratic debates.

I probably wouldn't be watching, anyway.

I'm one of these people (apparently) on the fringes of the world who think there are too many debates, anyway.  Debates among the nominees for president, or, for that matter, any other elected office, are fine.  But during an election year, we're so inundated with debates that it's no wonder people get frustrated (and downright irritated) by the election process in general..

Furthermore, these debates, which involve as many as a half a dozen candidates at a time, are of much benefit only to the lesser candidates, who don't have the money to put their face on TV in campaign ads.  In 2012, by the time the long primary process had gone on for two months, the only two viable Republican candidates were Mitt Romney and Rick Santorium, and the latter eventually dropped out of the race.

And the AP story says this:

Even before the Clinton dispute, Republican leaders favored plans to have fewer presidential debates with more friendly moderators. They believe their 2012 presidential candidates spent too much time beating up each other in last year's months-long primary season, which contributed to Mitt Romney's loss.

So the Republican Party doesn't plan that many multi-candidate debates, anyway. So how is that going to greatly affect NBC or CNN viewers? 

I will say the timing of the Clinton "docu-drama" is rather suspicious.  Is it going to be one-sided and favorable to presumed candidate Clinton? Probably.  But, at least in the case of NBC, I imagine it probably will be produced by the network's entertainment division, not its news division.  (However, that matters little to people who believe NBC is NBC, no matter what.)  And, as I've said over and over, the fact that the G.O.P. is complaining about this only makes more people want to watch.

As for the debate threat: as far as I'm concerned, fewer debates, whether they're televised or not, are fine with me.

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