An aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann was inadvertently sent a CBS News email indicating the candidate would be given little time to speak during Saturday night’s foreign policy debate. Jon Huntsman, who’s been polling at only about 1% complained about being left out. Ron Paul was only given 89 seconds to answer questions. Do these Republican presidential candidates have a legitimate gripe about the debate moderators?
I think they do. No candidate has consistently polled higher than about 25%. These debates can be make-or-break moments for the candidates. As far as Bachmann and Paul are concerned, they’ve both been higher in the polls than Huntsman. Why is he still included, but Thaddeus McCotter and Gary Johnson aren’t?
Whether they’re accused of trying to gin up rating-friendly “fireworks” or limiting questions to a candidate they deem to have dropped out of contention, suspicions toward debate moderators are part of an ongoing erosion of the media’s credibility. Perfect fairness and complete objectivity are perhaps an impossible ideal, but when a candidate claims to have discovered “concrete evidence” of bias, it is a serious charge that merits serious consideration. Republican voters will ultimately decide their party’s nominee, despite efforts by the media elite to decide for them. And Bachmann’s poll numbers are still higher than Huntsman’s.