by Paul Bradford
Tucker Carlson reportedly wants to host his own GOP presidential debate. The idea struck a chord with many people. It would be must-see TV for the most popular commentator on the Right to grill presidential hopefuls before a national audience. Republican voters would also prefer if those asking the candidates questions were not liberal reporters.
With Carlson now visible primarily on Twitter, it looks like he will have the opportunity to host the debate on the social media giant. According to the Washington Post, “Carlson wants to moderate his own GOP candidate forum, outside of the usual strictures of the Republican National Committee debate system.”
Carlson’s proposal brings up the awkward fact that most of the debates are not hosted by people like the former Fox host. They are instead hosted by outlets such as CNN and NBC. These are media operations that don’t boast a single conservative host. Their panels are often stacked with hostile reporters who care more about humiliating the candidates than informing the public. The one conservative outlet allowed to host debates is Fox News, an outlet that now appears hostile against the frontrunner Donald Trump.
While the Tucker debate would be a great development, conservatives shouldn’t let the RNC off the hook if an alternative debate takes place. Instead, we must pressure the RNC not to let Fox and mainstream media monopolize the GOP debates. There must be official debates hosted by right-of-center media. This is the only way to ensure these events allow discussion of the issues that actually matter to Republican voters.
CNN’s town hall with Trump previews what’s in store if the mainstream media maintains its monopoly on the debates. Instead of discussing policy, CNN focused on gotcha questions surrounding Trump’s personal life, legal troubles, and January 6. Expect a mainstream media-hosted debate to spend more time demanding candidates disavow this or that trivial controversy than discussing how to solve the border crisis. Every candidate, not just Trump, will have to give his thoughts on E. Jean Carroll and Stormy Daniels. Every Trump barb the media finds offensive will become a debate question. There will be no substance at all. It will be just a two-hour-long trap to get Republicans to sling mud at Trump and each other.
Giving the debates to right-of-center media isn’t about helping Trump. It’s about giving space to all the candidates to share their opinions on the issues that matter.
Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is one of those who would prefer right-leaning media take the reins. “Today’s media is too often an extension of the far Left,” he tweeted. I’m calling for conservatives to hear from our leaders without the media’s biased filter.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shares this attitude toward the corporate leftist media. He believes Republican leaders should stop legitimizing these outlets and stick with media that share their views. There is no better way to grant legitimacy to the left-liberal press than to let them control your party’s debates.
Republican voters want to hear their presidential hopefuls debate immigration, abortion, Social Security, and Ukraine. They do not want a Jerry Springer Show episode masquerading as a debate. The only way to ensure the GOP debates are serious affairs dedicated to the issues is to give exclusive control of the debates to genuine conservative media outlets. There are plenty, such as Newsmax and Breitbart, that are more than up to the task. The debate doesn’t even need to be on a standard TV channel. Thanks to Twitter and other streaming platforms, Republicans can now reach people directly without the interference of the mainstream media.
There are many crises facing America. Runaway inflation, a cataclysmic border crisis, rising crime, the growing China threat, war in Ukraine, and woke indoctrination in schools and businesses all matter greatly to the American people. But we might never hear what Republican candidates think about these issues if we allow the mainstream media to control the GOP debates. The only way to correct this is for the RNC to change who manages the debates. It’s the 21st century. Millions of Americans have cut the cord and no longer rely on the big networks to get their news. The GOP needs to get with the times and turn to alternative media.
It’s what their voters want and deserve.
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Paul Bradford is a Capitol Hill refugee now earning an honest living.
Photo “Presidential Debate” by Walt Disney Television. CC BY-ND 2.0.