Media should push candidates on tough issues in debates



So, that Republican debate last week. The candidates and many Republicans were angry at CNBC because the moderators were “attacking” them. All the questions asked were appropriate — questions that someone who wants to be the commander-in-cheif of this country needs to answer.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz was asked if his opposition to a budget deal that keeps the government from shutting down shows he is not a problem solver. He was asked a question about a substantive bill, filled with substantive issues, that keeps the government from shutting down and costing our economy billions as it did last time.

Cruz had every opportunity to criticize the bill, or explain what was wrong with it, or why he didn’t think it was good enough. Rather than give a substantive answer, Cruz decided to attack the questioner. Cruz was either being politically astute, or suffering from a distorted memory.

Much of the Republican party is built on ideas that simply disagree with the facts. Cutting taxes does not cause growth — it never has. It is refreshing, however, to see that Gov. Kasich is honest enough to stand on stage and call these tax proposals crazy.

Wealth also does not trickle down. Making the wealthy richer does not help anyone else. Climate change exists. The rise in health care costs has slowed. Under President Obama the deficit has been cut by more than half. Tax rates are well below the historical average. Non-defense discretionary spending (which doesn’t include Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security) is hovering around an all-time low in modern history.

But if you confront a conservative with any of these facts you must be part of the liberal mainstream media.

The fallout from the debate has been so great the Republican National Committee has ended its partnership with NBC, canceling a February debate, by saying, “What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas.”

The purpose of a debate should not be to better understand policies. The first purpose of a debate is to help the American people decide who they want to vote for. In order to cast the best vote possible, the American people need to know when they are being lied to, and by whom.

The candidates are right, the media is often less-than-stellar. These people are running to be the leader of the free world. However, the press has a constitutional protection because they have to be the watchdog on government, or on those who run for positions in it, or more importantly at the top of it.

The media should be holding the feet of every candidate to the fire. But instead they let lies fly by without scrutiny. This happens on both ends of the political spectrum, not just in debates. For liberals the media let gun control, the gender pay gap, the failures of the Affordable Care Act and the one in five rape statistic go completely unchecked.

One of the media’s role is to criticise candidates; someone who wants to be president should be ready and willing to take every tough question.