The only thing more twisted than a corporate donor mediating a nationally televised political debate is a partisan party group taking up the mantle. Talk about cutting right to the chase.
Last week, NBC and Politico hosted a Republican debate. This seemed as it should—we have a long history of media outlets presenting and mediating presidential debates during campaigns.
When you think about it, this in itself seems an odd conflict of interest—one that should raise at least a few ethical concerns. Media outlets are corporate structures which, by and large, all donate heavily to political parties and have a vested interest in skewing perception toward their particular political leanings.
As respected as Brian Willliams is as a non-partial news anchor (or perhaps as close to such a thing as exists these days), is he truly able to shake his and NBC’s worldview and personal interest when grilling candidates? IF NBC/Universal’s political donations aren’t uniform across every candidate, how can they really purport to be impartial? And if they’re not impartial, isn’t it sort of twisted to have the only debates Americans can access framed within their presentation?
Sure. But what I find even more baffling is the notion that tonight’s Republican Debate is presented by CNN and the Tea Party Express.
This may be partly because I’m still not sure what the Tea Party Express is. It’s not a political party. It’s not a for-profit company or an NGO non-profit. According to the group’s Wiki it says it was launched “as a national bus tour… by the political action committee Our Country Deserves Better PAC.”
More than anything, it seems like an ideological movement comprised of a set of social agendas. How such a group can “present” a debate among presidential candidates is perplexing, but it indicates just how effective the far right has been at hijacking American politics.
As Bill Maher put it, they keep staking out camp further to the right and demanding the left meet them halfway, thereby moving the center. And they’re doing a damn good job of it. Obama, with his steadfast belief in compromise is bending his originally progressive agenda to an economic platform resembling Republicans in the early ’80s, and Republicans like Mitt Romney have to forsake programs like his health care initiative if they used as their premise the notion that government could provide at least operational structure to benefit citizens.
How is Mitt Romney supposed to walk on stage and defend his health care policy when the entire evening’s debate is being presented by the Tea Party. The answer? He won’t, just as he’s tried to placate the far right with apologies and proving his far-right street cred by calling Obama a socialist rather than defending his record on healthcare for months.
The Tea Party has come to wield massive power and is in the process of absorbing the Republican party entirely. Now if we can just figure out what the hell it is.
Maybe CNN can tell us.