If you took him at his word, when RNC chairman Reince Priebus threatened yesterday afternoon to ban CNN and NBC from GOP's 2016 primary debates, his only concern was stopping the networks from airing favorable programs about Hillary Clinton.
Today, however, Priebus is admitting that the content of the programs isn't the issue, telling Fox News that "it doesn't matter what the movie is like." Regardless of the substance of what the networks air, Priebus said the RNC would forge ahead with the ban. Here's why:
I think 23 debates is ridiculous, but the second thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that's totally wrong.So Reince Priebus says he only wants debate moderators who have the GOP's best interests at heart and he's moving forward with a plan to ban CNN and MSNBC (along with both MSNBC and CNBC) ... leaving Fox News as the only cable network standing.
I guess that's Reince's way of saying Fox has the GOP's best interests at heart, not that there was ever any doubt. Still, it's nice seeing the GOP chairman effectively admit he thinks Fox is a Republican propaganda tool.
But the most glaring admission here is that Priebus thinks Republican candidates can't handle presidential primary debates without handholding from friendly moderators. That's true, but their debate performances are merely a symptom of the underlying problem—that Republicans can't seem to do anything but march to the right.
That's the problem Republicans need to be confronting. And confining their 2016 debates to Fox News is going to take them in the opposite direction.