RNC Panics, Lashes Out at NBC

In a pretty classic case of letting itself be panicked into a precipitous action by the excitement of the moment, the RNC has announced it has canceled the February 26 debate that was going to be cosponsored by NBC in order to punish the parent network for the behavior of the CNBC moderators of Wednesday night’s event.

This leaves NBC partner the conservative magazine National Review adrift, along with NBC’s Spanish-language affiliate Telemundo, which Republicans could really, really use (Greg Sargent immediately tweeted a suggestion that Democrats should offer Telemundo a deal rapidamente).

The RNC may ultimately regret setting the precedent of letting the inmates–er, the candidates–run the asylum–er, the debate system. Truth is, the questioning Wednesday night wasn’t that much more aggressive than in the first two debates, though presumably the concentration of fire on one candidate (Donald Trump) in the Fox News debate may have limited complaints about that one.

But I guess after the entire field and the debate audience went into a paroxysm of media-bashing Wednesday night the RNC had to produce a media scalp. It’s ironic that the network that employs Larry Kudlow and Rick Santelli is now perpetually labeled as the agent of godless progressivism, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to make up with the GOP.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.