The GOP Debate’s Fireworks Revealed a Media Malfunction

Bryan Crabtree
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Posted: Feb 15, 2016 12:01 AM
The GOP Debate’s Fireworks Revealed a Media Malfunction

Most of the establishment Republican leaders are appalled that Donald Trump interrupted Jeb Bush during the February 13, 2016 Republican Debate in Greenville to blame his brother George W. Bush for not stopping the attacks on September 11, 2001.  Sen. Lindsey Graham told me “that wouldn't go over well in South Carolina.” 

Many people I know agreed with Sen. Graham.  And, while I believe that's their heartfelt emotions on the subject, millions of voters don’t share that feeling.  A large portion of conservatives see the Bush family as a political dynasty that has brought no real change or added prosperity to America. In many cases, I do believe the Bush’s, albeit unjustified factually, have given liberals the ammunition to pass the blame to Republicans.  They haven’t been strong enough on many domestic issues.  

I’m not writing this article to give you my opinion on the legacy of the Bush family, so I digress. But, it appears that the Republican Party's biggest problem isn't the candidate selection but is its leaders’ complete detachment from the real emotions shaping voters’ minds. Voters want someone to change the direction of our Country and they're willing to take huge risks in order to do that. To some that huge risk is Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.  They reject the notion that either have to be nice or likable!

I keep hearing the media report that The Bush Family has a very strong following in South Carolina.  Apparently, ‘strong’ is not much more than the six percent of the voters as evidenced by the CBS/YouGov poll released Sunday, February 14, 2016, who support Jeb Bush.  

The reason you keep hearing about how awful Donald Trump or even Ted Cruz are is because much of the conservative media and the Establishment Republicans are virtually one in the same.  I arrived in Greenville to the ‘media spin-room’ about 5 hours before the Saturday debate.  Normally, I go to events to broadcast my radio show.  This time I decided to to observe the event and gain a new perspective.  

As I arrived, I overheard a member of the press mention a tweet from the ABC affiliate in San Antonio, Texas, that Justice Antonin Scalia had died.  I immediately started searching for the story and found nothing.  I searched again, specific to San Antonio, and found a report from ABC 7 stating he had died earlier that day.  After absorbing the shock of this great man’s death, there was another shock to follow.

It took over an hour after my first retweet of the ABC 7 story for the national media to pick up the report and interrupt as breaking news.  This begs the question: who is running our national media? Is it just the Associated Press (AP)?  My deduction is that the mainstream media and national press didn’t report this story until after the AP did.  Then, and only then, it went viral.  

This isn't about me pointing out that I beat them to the punch. To be clear, I’m not bragging.  I was a one man show posting it on Twitter.  But, how could I find it, verify it and report this so much sooner?  Our media has gotten lazy, waiting on the AP to report the news.  What you then hear is that individual news-network writers’ emotional reaction to the news; much of which is unoriginal.  I submit that the vast majority of the news media is simply waiting on news to break so they can tell you what they think about it and then some opinions spread quickly as facts.  This is evident in that none of them were willing to actually break the biggest news story of the year until the Associated Press decided it was true.

The foregoing explains how so many important stories of crime and corruption never get reported.  Most are unwilling to do the required research. It further explains how so many stories we hear are untrue, out of context or simply not credible.  These stories are someone’s emotional reaction repeated as news because someone in their ‘circle’ told them it was true.  

Let’s fast forward to the debate and connect this.  Trump interrupts and attacks Jeb Bush.  Then he doubles down and attacks Jeb’s brother, former President George W. Bush for being partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks in 2001.  A couple of people walk into the press room where I am and state, “Trump is imploding out there.”   Then someone else in the press filing center adds, “he’s attacking George W. Bush in South Carolina.  Is he crazy?”  Before long, the entire room, save me and a couple others, are saying, tweeting and reporting the same thing:  a couple people’s opinions as consensus.    

Meanwhile, there’s millions of Americans thinking quietly ‘I’ve had that thought about Pres. Bush, I just didn’t know if I should say it.’

In 24 hours of coverage following the Greenville Republican debate, a host of reporters, experts and commentators from a wide array of networks have all said ‘Trump had a bad night and this may be the moment this race turns.’  We’ve all heard that before…a few hundred times.

What these ‘experts’ have forgotten is that they are only one vote.  What they don’t know (or aren’t willing to admit) is that 35 to 40 percent of the voters quietly applauded every moment of Donald Trump’s jabs at Jeb Bush and Company.  

I long for the day where someone will just say,  “Jeb Bush had a strong night.  Where has that ‘Jeb’ been?  Marco Rubio showed a comeback and acted Presidential.  Ted Cruz did well.  John Kasich even rose above it all.  And, if you were a fan of Donald Trump before tonight, this was his best debate yet.”

In other words, we learned nothing new, but it was awesome reality television.  And, if that is what it takes to get people interested in politics, it was a great night!