Sitting through the Republican debate on Saturday night with ABCs George Stephanopoulos was just painful, from beginning to end. Some of it was just political Ambien. But when it was finally over, there was just one question: Who in the GOP in his or her right mind invites a historically shameless Democratic spin controller like Stephanopoulos to “moderate” a primary debate like this — ever?
The only thing that can be said in defense of that horrible decision was turning to NBC the next morning and seeing “moderator” David Gregory be even more slanted in his questioning. ABC slanted the ideological questions in their debate by a ratio of 6 questions from the left to each 1 from the right. The NBC ratio was 8 to 1.
Why must the Republicans keep handing over their debate stage in the primary season to the people who desperately want them all to bumble, stumble and fall on their faces on national TV?
In the ABC debate — an event held for Republican voters presumably to decide who is reliably conservative enough to win the nomination — ABC asked three questions from the conservative perspective and 20 from the left (25 were ideologically neutral). Twelve of the 48 questions, or 25 percent of the night’s total, were devoted to promoting contraception and gay marriage, so trite and repetitive that finally the audience booed them down.
Is this what happened in the Democratic debates last time? Were candidates Obama and Clinton badgered about governments promoting contraceptives, even to children? What about abortion and the candidates’ radical views? In fact, in the entire 20 Democratic debates in 2007 and 2008 monitored by the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute, there were only seven questions about abortion … in the entire campaign.
But the Republicans get Stephanopoulos the partisan asking Mitt Romney, “Do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?” By the sixth follow-up question, the audience was booing.
Diane Sawyer pounded Romney with the typical homosexual activist sitting at home. “Would you weigh in on the Yahoo question about what you would say sitting down in your living room to a gay couple who say, ‘We simply want to have the right to,’ — as the person who wrote the email said — ‘we want gay people to form loving, committed, long-term relationships.’ In human terms, what would you say to them?”
Because, as America knows, opposing the homosexual lifestyle is not just insensitive but inhumane.
Many Republicans loved Newt Gingrich when he slammed the ABC moderators for their obvious bias. No one, he pointed out, ever asks about the secular Obama progressives driving the Catholic Church out of the adoption process by demanding they place children with gay couples. “The bigotry question goes both ways. And there’s a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concerning the other side. And none of it gets covered by the news media.”
Over on NBC, Gregory and his co-conspirators asked 25 questions from the liberal perspective and just three from the right. It was extra-skewed by Gregory including quotes from liberal activists on Facebook. “And this from Martin Montalvo, because we do have a spending crisis but also a lot of people hurting. He writes this: ‘With more Americans on government assistance than ever before, is it un-American for Americans to feel relieved when the government helps them?’”
How perverse is this question? More than 45 million Americans are on food stamps, a record high. Is it “un-American” to question this ever-increasing load of government dependency?
Boston media hack Andy Hiller demanded both Romney and Santorum needed to become “a voice for increasing gay rights.” He even made it personal with Santorum. “What if you had a son who came to you and said he was gay?” The applause line would be “What if you had a son who came to you and admitted he was a Conservative?”
But worst of all, these “moderators” couldn’t utter a single question that was negative about Barack Obama. Not one.
Instead, Hiller pestered Rick Perry to agree with a Washington Post article written by John McCain right after the Tucson shootings, that Obama “is a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to advance our country’s cause. I reject accusations that his policies and beliefs make him unworthy to lead America or opposed to its founding ideals.”
These are not moderators. They are Obama partisans. Again: Why is the GOP putting up with this?
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.