Questions Fox Didn’t Ask

MegynKellyby Tim Jones8/9/15
Following the Republican debate in Cleveland Thursday night, there were a lot of complaints by conservatives that the moderators Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Brett Baier, were no better than their counterparts at the other cable news outlets and mainstream media.

It seems as though they were recycling many boilerplate questions in trying to get the candidates to explain a weakness or criticism. But guess who and what was the biggest elephant in the room that they did not ask to comment on: Barack Obama.

Here we have the most radical left-wing president in the country’s history who is not only transforming the country for the worse before our very eyes, but just may have the most scandal-ridden administration in history as well.

The very first question directed at a candidate came from Megyn Kelly to Ben Carson:

“Your critics say that your inexperience shows. Your critics say that your inexperience shows. You’ve suggested that the Baltic States are not a part of NATO, just months ago you were unfamiliar with the major political parties and government in Israel, and domestically, you thought Alan Greenspan had been treasury secretary instead of Federal Reserve chair.”

This is a typical straw man kind of question where the source is not cited and puts the candidate immediately on the defensive, kind of like “I’ve been told you’ve stopped beating your wife. Is that true or are you still going at it?” For the uniformed viewer, a negative image is immediately created regardless of it truthfulness and fairness.

And rather than attacking Trump about past misogynistic comments, maybe next time they should try asking him some questions on how he would specifically implement his policies as president. The three moderators seemed to be trying to make the debate into something you would see on the E! Channel or The View by getting him to respond in his typical bombastic way. They were probably thrilled with his attack on Megyn Kelly, something that made for great television and that they were hoping for so that the 24 million viewers wouldn’t be disappointed. And now the exchange will be repeated and discussed ad nauseam on the Fox News Channel and other media outlets.

I’ve compiled a list of questions they should have asked during the debate:

1) Since Obamacare has been in place for three years now, it is now a fact that all of its promises have been broken, including that you will be able to keep your doctor, that you will be able to keep your existing healthcare plan, and that your premiums will decrease on average $2,500 per year. Will you make a verbal commitment tonight to begin the repeal process of Obamacare the first day you take office?

2) Beginning with the Fast & Furious scandal, to the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Benghazi scandal and the Obama Administration’s illegally snooping on journalists at the Associated Press and our own Jim Rosen, will you continue the investigations started in Congress, broaden them beyond those conducted by Trey Gowdy and Darrell Issa in the House of Representative, and finally hold someone accountable for all of these illegal activities by getting the FBI and Justice Department to investigate them?

3) Will you rescind Obama’s executive order on illegal immigration and the EPA’s new regulation on the power industry?

4) How will you reduce the $18+ trillion in debt, and would you consider eliminating any departments, such as Energy and Education, in reducing the size of government and spending?

5) Finally, the country has spent over $22 trillion on the War on Poverty since it began 50 years ago, and clearly poverty has won. The welfare roles have skyrocketed since Obama took office. What would you do differently to lift the underclass out of poverty instead of maintaining the status quo?

It seems as though Fox has the same mindset as the rest of the media. There is one standard for Republicans and an entirely different one for Democrats. Fox may not be so “fair and balanced” after all. • (728 views)

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10 Responses to Questions Fox Didn’t Ask

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Great questions, Tim. Just fyi while we’re on the subject, I read another good article critical of the truly awful job Fox did on the debates: FNC debate moderators: ‘Oh, the cleverness of me’

    Millions of conservatives were looking forward to the GOP debate like kids waiting for a new Avengers film.  Sick to death of leftist moderators going after Republican candidates with malicious intent, this debate was going to be different.  With the moderators being from Fox, this debate would be classy and substantive.  There would be none of Stephanopoulos’s trick questions meant to destroy, like when he asked Romney if he thought birth control should be legal.  Chris Wallace has a lefty bent and, like his father, can be quite arrogant, but Bret Baier is one of the best in the business.  And Megyn Kelly, whom we’ve watched since she was Megyn Kendall, is usually incisive and elegant.

    Our fantasy was not to be.  Right out of the box, Kelly asked Trump a lowbrow question that belied someone’s many hours of opposition research.  The tone was instantly set.  This debate was going to be like a tacky reality show, unworthy of the candidates, with the possible exception of Trump.

    • M Farrell says:

      Please forgive me, but Kelly went to the Candy Crowley basement when the 2nd question of a debate for the future president of the USA had to do with a years old spitting match the Donald had with Rosie O’Donnel (of all people)– this is unmitigated silliness– Please tell me what on earth this has to do with the problems facing the USA today or the issues a future president will have to address???

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One thing to note is that the pro-Fox argument is that they ask tough questions of everyone. This is a good thing, mitigated by the fact that the Demagogues would never let Fox moderate one of their debates. The questioners have been defended by many conservatives as well, including Erick Erickson (no establishment tool).

    As for your proposed questions, the first 2 and possible the third invite simple yes and no answers (which would at least speed things up), but of course the answers are obvious to any Republican. What counts is whether they would really mean it. On the other hand, the last 2 questions are excellent ones, and it would have been far better to have a few such questions (asked of each candidate and allowing more than a minute or so to respond) than a lot of sound-bite questions. (Fewer questions with longer responses would also have meant more time for the candidates rather than the questioners.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I still insist there is a difference between a “tough question” and a trashy one. Fox News took a giant step towards trash. They were playing “gotcha” when they should have been taking the debate seriously. Although I had tuned out this trashy network at least two years ago because of what it was becoming, even I was surprised how unserious their debate moderators were.

      But then they live inside that bubble where the indecent just seems okay. Everyone else is doing it. It’s the way everyone else thinks.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, some of those questions were indeed obvious. If Carson were nominated, he would be challenged on some of those examples of early ignorance (or slip-ups). My own thought is that the best response would be to point out that one can learn such details, and he still has plenty of time to do that, so what counts is having the right character and a sound world-view and ideology. Carson, unlike the Crimson King, has those essential qualities.

        One also wonders what would happen if they asked the other candidates if they would actually guarantee to support any of the others who won the nomination. Would Lindsey Graham or Chris Christie endorse Rand Paul (or vice versa, for that matter)? How many would endorse a victorious Trump? And did they ask that generic question at the JV debate?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I think the first presidential TV debate was Nixon/Kennedy. There certainly might have been some earlier regional debates, or debates between party candidates. But ever since then — and largely because of the power of that kind of exposure — presidential TV debates have been falling to the level of Jerry Springer. TV has the ability to make a direct and quick impact. One gaff or one good quip can be everything.

          Fox News simply decided to join the cultural quagmire. There was no sense of civic responsibility. For Fox News, it was all about ratings — assuming they weren’t also given marching orders to take down Trump. If so, it does seem those marching orders were received.

          Still, there have been other candidates (I forget who) who have successfully dressed-down the media for their unprofessionalism and “gotcha” questions. And generally that’s worked well for them. Not even Trump (from what I saw) did that.

          Steyn had a good answer (written Aug. 6) for the question Trump eventually got:

          He may screw the whole thing up this evening, but my advice if he’s asked to rule out a third-party run would be to reply: I’m the Republican frontrunner with twice as much support as the next guy. Why not ask Governor Stumblebum the third-party question? Or anyone but the presumptive nominee.

          What I saw in the debate is the inability of even the supposed media-savvy participants to be media-savvy. They haven’t adapted to the TV format. I found that odd. I may not like politics-via-soundbytes, but they’d better be damned prepared to have those soundbytes in the limited time available and be able to deliver them well. Reagan certainly was able to.

          My guess is that the consultant class is about as clueless as anyone. Again, come to StubbornThings and we’ll give you some free and effective advice. But dump the high-priced consultants. And I guess Trump has already done that.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            One who dressed down the media was Newt Gingrich in 2012, and at least one of his targets was Chris Wallace for beginning a debate with a question about Gingrich’s marital past.

            Kennedy-Nixon was the beginning of national debates. They had 4 debates. There were no more, for various reasons, until 1976, when Ford and Carter had 2 with a vP debate for Dole and Mondale. This was the intention in 1980, but Carter refused to debate Anderson, so there ended up being a debate between Reagan and Anderson and another between Reagan and Carter. (“Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”) Since then, the 1976 pattern has generally been followed.

            I think 1980 was the first year of primary debates, on the Republican side. There has been no consistent pattern since then that I know of, though such debates are the norm in open races. (It was in a primary debate in 1988 that Al Gore became the first candidate to challenge Michael Dukakis over Willie Horton. Naturally, liberals proceeded to blame Bush for the matter.)

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Yes, that’s right. It was likely Newt I was thinking about. I wonder if these Establishment guys, along with their consultants, thought that because Newt did it, it was not something for them.

              Newt is Newt much like Trump is Trump. Their strong personality tends to be their main policy. One could also say that they are their own cause. But it would be critically stupid and destructive of me to say this if I didn’t also acknowledge that such a thing is just as strong in “do-gooders” Jeb Bush or John Kasich. The last person who genuinely cared 100% about his fellow man likely died on a cross 2000 years ago.

              And what an odd time that was with Newt. You had the Establishment media (particularly NRO) falling all over themselves to try to paint Newt as a closet FDR. But what are all these Establishment guys but closet (or not so closeted) Big Government FDR’s?

              This is why it so disturbs me to see Kevin Williamson and others take after Trump with seemingly no self-awareness as to the larger stage and circumstances this is all being played out on. I’m generally naive about this type of stuff. I suppose that most people, particularly on the right, are saying what they truly believe and aren’t just bought-and-paid-for mouth pieces.

              But money talks and you-know-what walks. I heard no criticism by Mark Steyn, for example, of the degrading form of journalism used by the Fox News panel in his talk with Hannity. Yes, I understand that one doesn’t bite the hand that feeds you. But not a word from Steyn (at least in his article) about the Fox News panel.

              I didn’t know that Algore busted Dukakis’ chops over Willie Horton first. Interesting.

              And I don’t know why it was so effective, but the Carter/Reagan debate produced the memorable “There you go again.” But I think America was looking for any good reason to dump Carter. Reagan only needed to show that he was “good enough.” And that’s the same strategy that the GOP candidates must take. They must understand that a sizable number of Americans are looking for a reason to dump Hillary. Whoever jumps on that bandwagon first and re-defines this ongoing redefinition (fundamental transformation) of America will be the winner. Whoever can present a positive view of American while being extremely frank about the weaknesses and corruption of Hillary will win.

              If not, Hillary will win, because no one is going to go to the polls to support a plain vanilla like Walker or Bush. That’s why Trump desperately needs to hire us here as his consultants. Okay, he’s tapped into popular discontent. Now he has to do something with it and show that he’s more than just a ranter. He has to be able to think on his feet, to have a coherent message, and inspire confidence. And none of us give a rip what lackeys such as Jonah Goldberg or Kevin Williamson are saying. It’s up to you, Trump. Or up to one of the others to step up their game. The take-away soundbyte from the last debate should have been from Cruz saying, “I can’t believe it’s in the least controversial that politicians sometimes lie.”

              Our fee here is only $500/hr. Call or email.

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