GOP 'Suspends' NBC Debate Partnership Over 'Gotcha' Questions

Fri, 30 Oct 2015 18:56:35 UTC by Alan Duke

CNBC got record ratings for its Republican presidential debate, but how the business channel's hosts questioned the candidates prompted the GOP chairman to cancel plans for future events with CNBC and its parent NBC News.

Republican Republican National Committee Reince Priebus called the debate questions "inaccurate or downright offensive" in a letter sent to NBC New Chairman Andrew Lack two days after the October 28, 2015, debate in Boulder, Colorado.

"I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016," Priebus wrote. "The RNC's sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America's future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns."

Although NBC News does not have "full editorial control over CNBC's journalistic approach," the party is also punishing the parent network because "we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance," he wrote.

"Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters," he wrote. "That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive. The first question directed to one of our candidates asked if he was running a comic book version of a presidential campaign, hardly in the spirit of how the debate was billed."

Priebus accused the debate moderatos of asking "a series of "gotcha" questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates."

The GOP will still hold a debate on February 26, 2016, but with another partner, he said.