CNBC Debate, Literally: 
Moderators Become Debaters

By October 28, 2015News and Events
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Becky Quick, Carl Quintanilla and John Harwood.  These are the names that were at the center of tonight’s main debate—the “moderators.”  It was a train wreck for them, as they showed their leftist bias early and often.

It started with CNBC Washington Bureau Chief and New York Times columnist John Harwood who started his first question of Donald Trump with this model of impartial journalism:

HARWOOD: Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it.  Send 11 million people out of the country. Cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit.  And make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.  Let’s be honest.  Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?

Donald Trump actually seemed like the nice guy saying simply: “No, not a comic book, and it’s not a very nicely asked question the way you say that.”  Trump went on to talk about some of his ideas, but Harwood was unfazed:

HARWOOD: I talked to economic advisers who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms.

Trump pointed out that a colleague of Harwood liked his plan, but Harwood wanted to keep debating him, until his colleague CNBC host Carl Quintanilla had to cut him off.  Unfortunately he turned it over to CNBC host Becky Quick who was just as bad.  She decided to school Dr. (emphasis on doctor) Ben Carson on his economic ideas.

QUICK: Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes.

You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and — I’ve looked at it — and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this…

CARSON: Well, first of all, I didn’t say that the rate would be 10 percent. I used the tithing analogy.

QUICK: I — I understand that, but if you — if you look at the numbers you probably have to get to 28.

CARSON: The rate — the rate — the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.

QUICK: 15 percent still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to some strategically cutting in several places…

QUICK: You’d have to cut — you’d have to cut government about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.

CARSON: That’s not true.

QUICK: That is true, I looked at the numbers.

CARSON: When — when we put all the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.

It was worse than it looks.  I guess Quintanilla was feeling left out, because he decided to mock Carly Fiorina when she suggested the tax code should be simplified to about three pages:

QUINTANILLA: You want to bring 70,000 pages to three?

FIORINA: That’s right, three pages.

QUINTANILLA: Is that using really small type?

Quintanilla then asked Sen. Rubio about missing senate votes, but was not content with the Senator’s answer, he had to show his stripes, once again:

QUINTANILLA: So when the Sun-Sentinel says Rubio should resign, not rip us off, when they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?

RUBIO: Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement. It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.

QUINTANILLA: Well, do you hate your job?

RUBIO: Let me — let me answer your question on the Sun-Sentinel editorial today. Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for president missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation —

QUINTANILLA: Is that the standard?

RUBIO: Later that year, in 2004, John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes. I don’t recall the Sun — in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement.


There was this exchange from Harwood and Gov. Bush:

HARWOOD: Governor, the fact that you’re at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen in this race, despite the big investment your donors have made.  You noted recently, after slashing your payroll, that you had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people. I wanted to ask you —

BUSH: No, no. What I said was I don’t believe that I would be president of the United States and have the same dysfunction that exists in Washington, D.C. now.


BUSH: Don’t vote for me if you want to keep the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: Got it.

BUSH: But if you want someone who has a proven, effective leadership, that was a governor of a state, that transformed the culture there, elect me so I can fight for the American people and change the culture in Washington, D.C.

HARWOOD: But it’s a — OK. It’s a — it’s a question about why you’re having difficulty. I want to ask you in this context.

Ben Bernanke, who was appointed Fed chairman by your brother, recently wrote a book in which he said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican Party has given in to know- nothingism. Is that why you’re having a difficult time in this race?

We could go on and on.  Quick asked Fiorina about being fired, which has been talked about everywhere.  But she apparently thought she was setting a trap for Fiorina by following up asking her about the views of the man that fired Fiorina (why would that be important, nobody knows) but Fiorina replied beautifully: “Well, this is one of the reasons why Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the boardroom, Becky.” Laughter followed.

It was a zoo.  The audience actually booed the moderators on several occasions.  It got so bad, Sen. Cruz finally stood up to address the elephant in the room:

CRUZ: You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.


CRUZ: This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”

How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?


QUINTANILLA: (inaudible) do we get credit (inaudible)?

CRUZ: And Carl — Carl, I’m not finished yet.

CRUZ: The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?”


And let me be clear.


QUINTANILLA: So, this is a question about (inaudible), which you have 30 seconds left to answer, should you choose to do so.

CRUZ: Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.


And nobody watching at home believed that any of the moderators had any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be what are your substantive positions…


QUINTANILLA: OK. (inaudible) I asked you about the debt limit and I got no answer.


CRUZ: You want me to answer that question? I’m happy to answer the question…

They tried after that, but it was hopeless.  There were bad questions about Rubio’s finance; they asked a horrible question about women to Cruz which Fiorina had to intervene.  My personal favorite one was the “gotcha” question on homosexuality they tried on Dr. Carson:

QUINTANILLA: Dr. Carson, we know you as a physician, but we wanted to ask you about your involvement on some corporate boards, including Costco’s. Last year, a marketing study called the warehouse retailer the number one gay-friendly brand in America, partly because of its domestic partner benefits.

Why would you serve on a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?

CARSON: Well, obviously, you don’t understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.

They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe. And this is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. You know, that’s what the PC culture is all about, and it’s destroying this nation.

The fact of the matter is we the American people are not each other’s enemies, it’s those people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies. And we need to make that very clear to everybody.


Now, that’s a home run. Quintanilla tried to press with some other report he heard somewhere.  To which Carson replied:

CARSON: Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda.

But instead of moving on Quintanilla decided to press on, until the audience finally had to boo him for this inane exchange:

QUINTANILLA: To be fair, you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder —

CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage, they did it without my permission.

QUINTANILLA: Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way.

CARSON: No, it speaks to the fact that I don’t know those —


CARSON: See? They know.


QUINTANILLA: Apparently. We will take a break. We’ll be back in Boulder in just a minute.

And there is more, much more.  They asked about Fantasy Football for crying out loud.  At one point Quick asked Trump about a report that he denied and she asked him about her own research:

QUICK: Where did I read this and come up with this that you were…


TRUMP: Probably, I don’t know — you people write the stuff. I don’t know where you…



She asked him something else after that and Trump again:

TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

QUICK: So this was an erroneous article the whole way around?

TRUMP: You’ve got another gentleman in Florida, who happens to be a very nice guy, but not…

QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

Rubio called them Hillary Clinton’s Super Pack:

RUBIO: I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It’s called the mainstream media who every single day…


RUBIO:… and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, “Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.” She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week that she got exposed as a liar…


RUBIO: But she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.

After this debate, it would be hard to argue otherwise. There is an old saying that the journalists should never become the story, well today Harwood, Quick, Quintanilla and CNBC failed at that miserably.