On Saturday, CBS aired a debate with eight GOP Presidential candidates it hosted with National Journal.
While supporters of the various candidates say their favorite person won, most conservatives seem to agree that CBS was the biggest loser of the debate.
Marc A Thiessen wrote at the National Review Online:
If there was a loser on the debate stage tonight, it was CBS. First, they scheduled their debate on a Saturday night between two major football games. Then they decided to only broadcast the first hour of their 90-minute debate. Then their Internet feed failed for the final 30 minutes. This was CBS’s first and only debate — and it showed.
He added that Scott Pelley was a “terrible moderator.”
“He treated the men who might be the next commander in chief like schoolchildren, cutting them off in mid-sentence, lecturing them to answer his questions,” Thiessen added.
Making matters worse, Pelley decided to debate Newt Gingrich on policy regarding the rule of law on terrorist “suspects.” As a result, the smug CBS News anchor got his clocked cleaned by the former Speaker who explained the “rule of law.”
“If you engage in war against the United States, you’re an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States, you cannot go to court,” he said to wild applause.
“Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war and the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you,” Gingrich explained, receiving loud applause.
CBS’s foreign policy debate, co-sponsored by National Journal, offered unusually detailed discussion of policy and a format that was free of many of the literal bells and whistles of more slickly-produced face-offs. But the confusing format — the televised portion for most of the nation ended after an hour and viewers were expected to go to the Internet to see the final 30 minutes — led to widespread frustration among those following the debate.
A network spokesman said the livestream was choppy because it was overwhelmed by a larger than expected audience.
CBS also came under fire after an email surfaced indicating the moderators purposefully asked Michele Bachmann fewer questions than any of the other candidates, although CBS denied any allegations of bias.
Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s campaign chairman, said CBS “should be ashamed” for giving the Texas congressman very much time.
But CBS already navigates conservative distrust over Dan Rather’s botched report raising questions about George W. Bush’s National Guard service in 2004 and Katie Couric’s grilling of Sarah Palin in 2008 — and Bachmann’s campaign manager said the candidate’s debate treatment flew in the face of assurances from CBS Vice President Chris Isham that the Bachmann would get a fair shot at the debate.
Politico noted that CBS was mocked by Republican officeholders.
“CBS Debate tonight was pure amateur hour — with CBS being the amateurs,” North Carolina state Rep. Glen Bradley tweeted.
But Pelley says he got support from at least one person: former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman reportedly thanked Pelley afterward for talking to candidates who are not polling very well. Huntsman currently polls around one percent.
“So I think the candidates felt that they were well-treated,” Pelley said.
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