RNC Suspends NBC Deal For February Debate

The Republican National Committee doesn’t seems to be thinking like an owner of prized TV content. On Friday, it sent a letter to NBC saying it is “suspending” its deal with NBCUniversal for the February debate, set to run on Telemundo, because it didn’t like how its candidates were portrayed in the recent debate on another NBC cable network, CNBC.

The irony, of course, that CNBC is home to some of the biggest free-marketers in the world, who for the most part also happen to be Republicans: Lower-regulation, big-time capitalist business executives. Isn’t that something conservatives like to see more of?

CNBC’s Rick Santelli, who covers the Chicago Mercantile Exchange focusing mostly on interest rates, said on Friday he agreed with Sen. Rand Paul, who is in favor of free markets, including letting the credit interest market rates go up and down without Federal Reserve intervention.



Did that put Paul into a bad light? I don’t think so. Didn’t Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, talk about how small-business health insurers are getting hurt because of Obamacare? Did that put him a bad light?

Yes, there were was some pressing questions for candidates as well. Tough questioning is what journalism is always about -- for business executives, and all politicians. That’s what the public deserves. The good news? They get to respond to all kinds of questions -- those that seem friendly, those aren’t are, and stuff in between.

In that light, presidential candidates should do just what they always have done, and what we can expect: never answer all the questions with direct answers. Just talk about something else. We understand drama.

Maybe the RNC is thinking that, with the expected crazy increase in political TV advertising -- a record $4.4 billion -- who needs debate coverage on a network anyway?

Still, ot seems strange that the RNC wouldn’t want to reach all U.S. voters who watch all kind of TV networks. Fox News? Natch. CNN? Sure. Telemundo? Hmmm... Aren’t Hispanic-Americans a key voting group that the RNC as well as Democrats are looking to curry favor from in future years?

CNBC pulled in a nice 14.1 million viewers -- as well as grabbing up to $250,000 for a thirty-second commercial for TV marketers for the debate. It’s a free market after all.

The RNC still has a lot to learn about who their market is. Hey, maybe Comedy Central will come calling.

8 comments about "RNC Suspends NBC Deal For February Debate".
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  1. Ted Faraone from Faraone Communications, November 2, 2015 at 3:59 p.m.

    Clearly, Wayne, the Republican race is shaping up as a circular firing squad.  I cannot find any other reason for what these people do to themselves and to the rest of us.

  2. larry towers from nyu, November 2, 2015 at 4:01 p.m.

    The GOP candidates want soft questions they can answer with boilerplate aphorisms. In essence they want a 2 hour infomercial about the many models to choose from the GOP presidential candidate superstore.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 2, 2015 at 4:38 p.m.

    The whole TV debate process has gotten way out of hand. What are all of these people doing crowded on the stage? Why can't it be whittled down to a manageable number---like four----using some fair polling system, beforehand? As for the "moderators", while some of them ask reasonable and "fair" questions, it is clear that some---based on their own political orientation---do not play by the rules. OK, so why can't an independent panel of neutral moderators be recruited, who are not advocates of either party, to handle this important function. And why can't the important questions be known in advance, so the "debators" can properly plan their opening replies and convey some useful information to the public?

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 2, 2015 at 6:22 p.m.

    Totalitarian government control the information allowed to be presented to people of their countries. So when one political party controls the media of what can be and it can be disseminated to the population you see totalitarism at work. This is want we want ?

  5. Anthony Detry from Mediabrands, November 2, 2015 at 9:56 p.m.

    Let them take their ball and go home for now. They will be back before February. To shun that key demo makes little sense but then again why would logic be expected here.

  6. Chuck Lantz from, network replied, November 3, 2015 at 5:10 p.m.

    Ed: For the most part the candidates already do know the most important questions that will be asked, or at least they should if their handlers are doing their jobs correctly. If they get a list of complete questions in advance, all we will be seeing is how good their memories are, since they'll be fed their answers by their teams, regardless of what the candidate themselves might have said on their own. We learn nothing from that sort of "debate."

    On the so-called "gotcha" questions the GOP candidates were complaining about, it's exactly how those types of questions are handled that proves the mettle and ad-libbed intelligence of those being questioned, so of course the current crop of candidates would complain. The off-the-cuff responses to tough questions proves toughness and reveals weakness; we all know that. And now we know how weak those candidates really are.  

  7. Randall Tinfow from CLICK-VIDEO LLC, November 3, 2015 at 6:22 p.m.

    Too late, Ed.  I filed a patent for the Mindshare Embedded Programmatic Process yesterday at 4PM.

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 3, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

    A fair point, Chuck, regarding knowing the basic questions beforehand. However, I would suggest, as an alternative, an opening positioning/policy statement by each hopeful of about three minutes rather than the "moderators" just starting off with questions. Also, the number of "debators" is way too large forcing the programs to go far too long just to give each a semblance of time. Why not a limit of four or five candidates, not the mob scene we see now?As for the moderators, fine, let the host channel have one, but let the other two---if that's the right number---be neutral parties, without an ax to grind for either party?

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