Now that the first of the GOP presidential debates is history, I offer some thoughts.
First, that this event turned out to be the highest rated non-sports cable show ever is due exclusively to Donald Trump.
Anyone with any doubts about this need only ask themselves: Who even remembers the first of the GOP presidential debates of 2012? Even some of us political junkies didn’t realize that it had even been on until well after it was over.
Twenty-four million people tuned in to watch, not Fox, not Megyn Kelly, but Donald Trump.
More people tuned in to watch Trump than tuned in to watch Jon Stewart’s farewell to The Daily Show.
Second, this being so, Fox News generally, and the moderators, Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly, owe Trump an eternal debt of gratitude.
Kelly received more speaking time at the debate than did any other candidate—including Trump. And courtesy of her dust up with Trump Thursday night, she has received more press than every other candidate—except, obviously, for Trump.
Third, to this last point, while Democratic Party apologists in the left-wing media lavished praise upon Kelly and her colleagues, this is because the latter ran the debate no differently than the manner in which they would have run it.
That is to say, the Fox moderators didn’t moderate at all.
Rather, they stocked up on “gotcha’ questions.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough agrees with [GOP Chairman] Reince Priebus’ decision to deny left-wing networks, like the one that employs Scarborough, the opportunity to host a GOP debate. He explains that “the idea was to get news outlets…that would ask legitimate questions about policy instead of gotcha questions.”
Instead, Fox did the job that MSNBC would have done.
Breitbart quotes Scarborough: “There wasn’t a single question asked of the Republican front runner that dealt with jobs, that dealt with Iran, that dealt with ISIS, that dealt with the economy writ large, that dealt with foreign policy writ large.”
To be fair, there were indeed some reasonably fair, tough questions that Kelly, Baier, and Wallace posed to (some of) the candidates. However, in the further interest of fairness, there is no denying that, as Mark Levin put it, they and their employer set out to host a “National Enquirer debate, and not a Republican Debate.”
Take, for example, this gem of a question posed by Baier: Which candidate would not consent to refrain from running as a third party candidate in the event that he didn’t receive the GOP nomination?
Everyone knows that Trump alone among the candidates has refused to rule out a run as a third party run. That Baier posed this as the very first question of the evening revealed Fox’s anti-Trump prejudices while setting the tabloid-esque tone for the rest of the event.
Since Trump is the GOP’s frontrunner—no other candidate even comes close; and since it is also common knowledge that both Republican politicians and such Fox rock stars as Charles Krauthammer and George Will (among others) continually dismiss and mock Trump, Baier and company may as well have asked of all of his competitors: “In the event that Trump secures your party’s nomination, do you pledge now to endorse him?”
Particularly Kardashianish was Kelly’s now infamous assertions, encased in terms of a question, on Trump’s past remarks toward women.
Not only was this topic wholly inappropriate for a debate setting; outside of the decade-old comments he made about Rosie O’Donnell, the other remarks to which Kelly alludes weren’t even accurate.
Levin describes Kelly’s “question” as “outrageous.” Levin told Breitbart that Fox had to comb through 185 episodes and 14 seasons of Trump’s hit shows, The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, to find a single line in which Trump allegedly told a female contestant to “get on her knees,” or something to this effect.
The line, however, was divested of its original context and made, by Kelly, into something that it was not.
Levin called this whole display an “embarrassment.”
Given the enormous backlash against Fox, and Megyn Kelly specifically, to say nothing of the fact that Trump’s numbers, including his favorability rating, have risen considerably since these theatrics unfolded, I’d have to guess that millions of Trump supporters, and a not insignificant number of those, like yours truly, that do not support Trump, agree with Levin’s assessment.