Government & Politics

Yes, the Leftmedia 'Rigs' Elections

The debate moderators provide a perfect example.

Arnold Ahlert · Aug. 4, 2016

“We’re running against a rigged system,” Donald Trump said at a rally Tuesday, “and we’re running against a very dishonest media.”

Trump, inelegant as he is, nonetheless has a point. And one of the primary reasons he continues to resonate with millions of Americans is exactly because of his willingness to take on both.

We begin with a corrupt media. How corrupt? Two column headlines by MSNBC contributor and Hillary Clinton apologist Steve Benen epitomize the despicable double-standard. When Patti Smith, mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith, spoke at the GOP convention, Benen’s column headline was “RNC manipulates the pain of a grieving mother for partisan gain.” When Khizr Khan, father of deceased U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, spoke at the Democrat convention, his column headline was “Khizr Khan’s words won’t soon be forgotten.”

Moreover, as the ever-reliable NewsBusters reveals, another media double-standard was in play: Khan received 50 times more coverage than Smith by NBC, CBS and ABC. And it is worth remembering that while Trump has been relentlessly hammered for his insensitive suggestion that Mrs. Khan wasn’t being allowed to speak, Clinton’s appallingly callous, “What difference, at this point, does it make” answer to a question about the reason behind the Benghazi attacks never engendered anything remotely resembling an equal level of media outrage.

Yet it is an integral part of the system itself that should worry Trump and his supporters the most. That’s because other than some yet-to-be-revealed “events on the ground,” this election could hinge on the three presidential debates scheduled to be held on Monday, Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York; Sunday, Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis; and Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

And once again, the likelihood of a “rigged system” being stacked against the GOP candidate looms exceedingly large.

Both the first and second debates will be held at the same time as two nationally televised NFL football games. The dates are set by the ostensibly non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Following complaints by the Trump camp, who insisted the scheduling was an attempt to hide Hillary, much like the DNC’s scheduling of the Sanders-Clinton debates in low viewership weekend slots, the CPD issued a statement insisting the “dates for the 2016 debates will serve the American public well.”

Maybe they will and maybe they won’t, given the reality that millions of Americans watch football, including a sizable portion of the blue-collar demographic that favors Trump. But a far more germane question should be explored: is the CPD actually non-partisan? Their Board of Directors consists of 14 members, and while it is impossible to fully determine an individual member’s exact political persuasion, their biographies are indicative.

Seemingly on the left are former ABC News anchor Charles Gibson; former PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer; former Democrat Party Rep. Jane Harman, who resigned from Congress to head the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; philanthropist Howard Buffett, eldest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett; Dorothy Ridings, former President of the Council on Foundations & League of Women Voters; former FFC chairman Newton Minow, former Princeton University president Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman; and former president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) Antonia Hernandez.

Seemingly on the right, John Griffen, managing director of Allen and Company, an investment bank involved in media and entertainment deals; Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins; former GOP Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels; former chairman of Citigroup and the former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Richard Parsons; former Republican Senator from Missouri and NHL owner John Danforth; and former GOP Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe.

Assuming a reasonable degree of accuracy based on political and business affiliations, that’s a noticeable lean to the left. More so in light of further consideration: Parsons was an adviser for quintessential RINO Nelson Rockefeller, Danforth complained that there’s an audience for the “anger and hatefulness” Trump expresses, and Snowe insisted Trump is “damaging the (GOP) party brand.”

In defending themselves against the Trump campaign charges, the CPD explained the debate schedule was announced in Sept. 2015, and to be fair, the commissioners couldn’t have known who would be the GOP standard-bearer at that time. Yet it would strain credulity to think they believed the Democrat race was up for grabs, given the published knowledge of that party’s overwhelmingly pro-Clinton super-delegate affiliation. An affiliation that rendered the Sanders campaign irrelevant right from the beginning.

A planned irrelevancy, as Wiki-leaked DNC emails and subsequent resignations of key DNC officials have revealed.

Yet if truth be told, the ultimate indication of the CPD’s neutrality ought to be their selection of moderators for the debates. (This year’s moderators haven’t been announced yet). Their track record in that regard?

In 2012, this “non-partisan” body selected PBS’s Jim Lehrer, CNN’s Candy Crowley and CBS’s Bob Schieffer to host the debates. All three are unabashed leftists. Moreover, Crowley proved it with her outrageous “thumb on the scale” performance, backing Barack Obama’s false assertion that he called Benghazi an act of terror right away. This despite the reality that Crowley’s own news network reported the White House characterized Benghazi as a terror attack “for the first time” on Sept. 20, nine days later.

Crowley’s effort arguably cost Mitt Romney the debate — and quite possibly the election itself.

And if you think the selection of leftist debate moderators in 2012 was an anomaly, think again. In 2008, the CPD selected PBS’s Jim Lehrer, NBC’s Tom Brokaw and CBS’s Bob Schieffer as moderators. In 2004, it was Lehrer, Schieffer and ABC’s Charles Gibson. In 2000, Lehrer moderated all three presidential debates. In 1996, there were only two presidential debates — both moderated by, you guessed it, Jim Lehrer. In 1992, Lehrer moderated two of the three debates, and ABC’s Carol Simpson moderated the other. In 1988, two debates moderated by Lehrer and CNN’s Bernard Shaw. In 1984, two debates moderated by ABC’s Barbara Walters and former NBC newsman Edwin Newman. In 1980, two debates moderated by PBS’s Bill Moyers and ABC’s Howard K. Smith.

After a 32 year span of consistently leftist or left-leaning debate moderators, how is it possible to take seriously the assertion — made by the mainstream media, no less — that the CPD is non-partisan?

It isn’t, which is why is behooves the Republican National Committee to snap out of more than three decades worth of self-inflicted impotency and demand an end to this partisan nonsense. Now, before the CPD stacks the deck once more. Again, Trump resonates because he stands in stark contrast to a GOP mindset that acquiesces to this kind of steamrolling. Steamrolling that becomes even more galling when they frame it as an effort to rise above the very same “gutter” politics Democrats practice with impunity.

It is virtually axiomatic the media will remain in Hillary’s corner over the remainder of the campaign. Yet if the RNC, and by extension the Republican Party itself, timidly abets another hijacking of the debate moderators, they may never recover. And if that’s the way it goes down — for the tenth time in a row — maybe they shouldn’t.

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