Republican National Committee Suspends Telemundo GOP Debate
The Republican National Committee (RNC) suspended NBC News sponsorship of a future Republican presidential debate, which would have been screened on Telemundo.
Following the third Republican presidential debate on CNBC on Wednesday evening, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced he wrote a letter to NBC Chairman Andrew Lack to cease their partnership for the Feb. 26, 2016, debate.
"The RNC's sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America's future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns," wrote Priebus, after noting the decision came after discussions within the RNC and the presidential campaigns.
Priebus acknowledged that the CNBC debate was "conducted in bad faith," and while he understands that NBC does not use full editorial control over CNBC's journalistic practices, the business channel still reflects on the NBC News brand. The RNC chairman said the CNBC debate was promoted to focus on the economy, including job growth, retirement and taxes, but that was not the case once the debate aired.
"Before the debate, the candidates were promised an opening question on economic or financial matters. That was not the case. Candidates were promised that speaking time would be carefully monitored to ensure fairness. That was not the case. Questions were inaccurate or downright offensive," wrote Priebus, noting the first question towards Donald Trump was if he was running a "comic book version" of a campaign.
Priebus recognized the need for debates to ask the tough questions but said the CNBC moderators went for "gotcha" questions and were set to embarrass the candidates.
"I have tremendous respect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. However, I also expect the media to host a substantive debate on consequential issues important to Americans. CNBC did not," the RNC chairman wrote.
Although the NBC News partnership ended, the RNC is keeping the co-sponsorship of the National Review and will still schedule the debate on Feb. 26.
The debate was set to air on Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language channel in the U.S.
A statement from NBC News expressed disappointment with the RNC's decision but stated hope in repairing relations.
"This is a disappointing development. However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party," according to NBC News.
During and after the Oct. 28 debate, viewers and the candidates criticized CNBC's questions or management.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the candidates during the CNBC prime-time debate, lashed out at the moderators during a question about the debt ceiling. He said, "The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media. This is not a cage match. How about talking about the substantive issues people care about."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Trump also criticized the debate during the broadcast.
Following the RNC's statement, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) released their comment and disappointment.
"We are extremely disappointed with the [RNC's] decision to cut ties with the party's only Spanish-Language network partner for the 2016 presidential primary debates. As the nation's second largest population group, it is vital for candidates vying for the White House to directly address the issues and concerns of most importance to Latinos in both English and Spanish-Language network aired debates," said NALEO.
NALEO said the Republican Party needs to engage with Latinos, especially through the Spanish-language network, given the recent anti-immigrant remarks made by some of the candidates.
"Failure to air a 2016 Republican primary debate on a Spanish-Language network will ultimately be a failure in reaching a key segment of Latino voters in Election 2016. With more than 28 million Latino voters eligible to cast ballots next year, failing to engage this rapidly growing electorate is not something the RNC or Republican presidential candidates can afford to do," added NALEO.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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