Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus kicked off a firestorm this summer when he announced that GOP debates in the 2016 presidential year would not happen on CNN and NBC if the networks aired programs focusing on the life and times of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Not surprisingly, his declaration immediately offended our nation’s “objective” media elite. Now they are complaining that Priebus is “threatening” to withhold debates from CNN and NBC if they air their planned Hillary Clinton films, whether they’re creating nonfiction or Hollywood half-fiction.
Heck, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews even accused Priebus of plotting to “suppress a free media.”
But here’s how I see it. That “threat” is a wonderful way to start taking on the media’s blatant bias and Democratic electioneering.
There’s nothing undemocratic in asserting that Republican primary elections are for Republican voters, and should stop being a playground for liberal media mischief.
The Grand Old Party doesn’t need any more debates where George Stephanopoulos asks six insincere questions about banning contraceptives, or Brian Williams suggests GOP governors shouldn’t be able to go to sleep at night after executing murderers.
They don’t need “town meetings” where badly disguised liberal activists stand up posing as “the people” and make leftist speeches designed to embarrass conservatives.
If liberal media outlets don’t want to air Republican debates without liberal moderators, then so be it. Republican voters don’t need to watch MSNBC or CNN to be able to find these debates and make up their minds.
No one inside the liberal media can plausibly argue that Mitt Romney doing all those primary debates on liberal networks helped him in November.
Why shouldn’t Republican debates build an audience for upstart conservative TV programs and video websites?
Republican politicians should grant access to conservative media and help develop their public image as authoritative sources of news and information.
It’s one thing for a Republican to shun liberal outlets that could impair a campaign. It’s another thing to be so intimidated by the negativity of the liberal media that you avoid the conservative media.
Liberal reporters should be forced to get acquainted with conservative news sites and radio shows to find the latest in what Republicans are saying. Liberal journalists need to have their comfortably arrogant bubble broken.
In the general election, the debates are for all voters, so there’s no avoiding the “mainstream” press. But Republicans should demand that the days of a quadruple-thumping by four liberal moderators become a thing of the past.
At least two of the GOP debates should be moderated by journalists that the Democrats will protest and get nervous headaches from during their preparations.
Fox News moderators didn’t lay down for the Republicans in the last set of primaries.
The incredibly biased and phony “town hall” debate must go, unless each party is allowed to select its own “regular people” to ask questions.
The days of these fraudulent “undecided voters” whipping Republicans with left-wing questions must end.
In 2012, it was obvious, on television and in real time, that several of the questioners were die-hard Bush-haters and Obama backers.
On the ground level, Republicans need to convince their friends, relatives, co-workers, and others that liberal media bias is not just an excuse when conservatives lose elections. It’s a serious national problem when people who pretend to be the government-watchers in our democracy act like a state-owned press that ignores “phony scandals.”
Media bias doesn’t always win elections for the home team of Democrats, as Ronald Reagan brilliantly proved.
The Tea Party proved that again in 2010, despite a virtual avalanche of liberal-media invective.
Winning elections is more complicated than just winning in TV studios, and the kinds of media that political pros have to master in communicating with voters are now incredibly diverse. But the “weather forecast” of our politics – when it is forever sunlight for Obama and severe thunderstorms for conservatives – routinely impacts conservatives’ image and conservative morale.
No one should expect that the power of our ideas is so strong that they will bowl over the media, and we can put a “Mission Accomplished” Banner on the set of MSNBC and be cheered like Tom Cruise at the end of “Top Gun.”
When Reagan wrapped up his presidency with a televised farewell speech in 1989, he knew Sam Donaldson would come on ABC at the end and insist that it was all too positive and didn’t stress his blunders enough. He pressed on with confidence.
Conservatives can take the heat. But it’s time to protest a media that all but throws us in the oven with an apple in our mouths.
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center's Director of Media Analysis and co-author (with Brent Bozell) of "Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election and How to Stop Them From Doing It In 2016."