I am at a loss to understand the sudden outrage on the Right, shared by my colleagues in this morning’s editorial, over the fact that Donald Trump is slated to moderate a GOP candidates’ debate, to be held for an audience of about eleven people (i.e., two days after Christmas on an obscure cable station).
I carry no brief for Mr. Trump, who is something of a carnival act, and I join the editors in commending Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and whoever else among the candidates has the good sense to send his or her regrets. But just to recap, here is a list of just some of the left-leaning moderator/sponsors of the debates — those that have occurred to date, and others scheduled to occur between now and March 19, 2012: CNN (7 times), NBC News (including CNBC and MSNBC) (5 times), Politico (2 times), Bloomberg, the Washington Post, CBS News, the National Journal (2 times), ABC News (2 times), the Des Moines Register, PBS Newshour (2 times), Google, the St. Petersburg Times, and NPR.
Moreover, by my quick scan of a Wikipedia entry, it appears that about 22 of the 50 states will have primaries or caucuses that are “open” to some degree — meaning registered Democrats and self-proclaimed independents will be invited to help choose the Republican candidate. Given that President Obama is unopposed, so there is no reason to vote in the Democratic primaries, there will be many more of these voters than usual in the GOP primaries. Most of them will be working against the GOP in the general election. Therefore, their obvious incentive as primary voters will be to elect not the most worthy GOP candidate but the candidate Obama would be most likely to beat.
So to sum up, we are having debate after debate moderated by left-wing media organizations that, under the guise of objective journalism, actively promote Obama’s policies and are, for all practical purposes, an adjunct of the president’s reelection campaign. Their charade is more damaging by leaps and bounds than anything Donald Trump could dream of pulling off. Trump, who has been pretty vigorously anti-Obama, at least in the last two years, is an eccentric whose antics are laughed off by most people. In contrast, the reach of these mainstream-media outlets is prime-time limitless, and we are giving them a license not merely to promote themselves but to destroy our candidates even as they suppress meaningful inquiry into Obama’s background and sympathetically spin his record as president. Then, once the media get through softening up the GOP contestants, the very close race will be substantially influenced by non-Republican voters who seek the nomination of the candidate most likely to lose to Obama.
The Trump thing is a sideshow. What should appall us is the fact that the overall process is designed to produce a weak (or at least weakened) candidate. I wish we were as whipped up about that as we are over a sure-to-be insignificant debate moderated by Donald Trump — as opposed to a series of prime-time, nationally televised debates moderated by, say, Democratic strategist George Stephanopoulos or the same CBS News division that fabricated the Bush Air National Guard documents.