There’s a ton of debate coverage in this Morning’s Jolt, but this was perhaps the most important point:
Jen Rubin noticed that, one hour into the debate, there were no questions on national security. We went one hour and forty-five minutes before any serious question on foreign policy.
Before then, CNN asked about abortion on two questions, including the particularly morally thorny circumstances of cases of rape or incest, gays in the military, gay marriage, and the separation of church and state. Oh, and whether Herman Cain prefers deep dish pizza or thin crust.
My instinct is to mock the Democrats when they refuse to appear on debates hosted by Fox News Channel, but debacles like tonight make the concept of a GOP reciprocal strategy hard to dispute. The social issues listed above are probably big topics in the newsrooms of CNN, the Manchester Union Leader, and the local television affiliate that sponsored last night’s debate, or more specifically, to non-conservative journalists, these social issues are the ones that make Republicans weird. So these are the sorts of questions that these reporters want to know about, even though every poll of every state of every demographic indicates that voters are concerned about jobs, jobs, jobs. You could have done a half hour on creating jobs, a half hour on entitlement reform, a half hour on what should be done post-Obamacare, and a half-hour on balancing the budget. There really is enough ground to cover there.
And just think, CNN is supposed to be better than MSNBC. If large swaths of the debate time is going to be consumed by issues that the media is more interested in, or idiotic frivolities like which reality shows they prefer, perhaps Republican candidates will be justified in rethinking participation in debates on some networks.
Of course, I’d hate to live in a political culture where Republicans only pitched themselves to viewers of Fox News Channel. So I suppose the best way to combat egregious question selection is to question or mock the moderator. Fred Thompson rejected the “show of hands” on climate change, when the editor of the Des Moines Register demanded a simple hand gesture in response to the question, “do you believe that global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity?” (Notice she wants one gesture for two separate questions.)
Because if members of the media keep expecting Republicans to lay out their views by moving their hands, they may get a completely different hand gesture than they expected.