OpinionTrending Commentary

Debate Reforms Will Finally Give The GOP A Level Playing Field



Corporate media and Big Tech have one key thing in common — both don’t like Republicans very much. With August’s first Republican primary debate around the corner, ensuring each candidate is given a fair platform is essential to protecting our cherished electoral process.

Just this week, the RNC announced its media partners for the first debate – Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble as the exclusive streaming platform.

I applaud the RNC’s decision to promote conservative media while also holding Big Tech accountable, choosing not to give YouTube streaming access to the first debate. Not only is it important that our Republican voters have the opportunity to judge their candidates from the mediums they consume, but conservative outlets have also proven time and time again they’re often the only media willing to give a fair shake to Republicans.

The clearest example of this is the very real Hunter Biden laptop story, which the New York Post broke ahead of the 2020 election. Immediately, Big Tech and legacy media leapt into crisis mode, from deplatforming the Post all together to rapidly issuing fact checks to debunk the story. It is now 2023, and legacy media is still refusing to accept that this story is indeed real, despite a March story from the New York Times confirming the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

That’s why the Chairwoman McDaniel and members of the RNC debates committee choosing both legacy media and conservative outlets as media partners for debates is such an important step for the presidential primary process.

When planning for the 2016 primary debates, then RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and members of the RNC debates committee knew voters from across the political spectrum would be tuning in, which is why they selected CNN and Salem Media to co-host the second debate at the Reagan Library.

While positive strides were made in 2016, who could forget the disastrous third primary debate in Boulder, Colorado. When CNBC not only chose unabashedly biased moderators, but the network also aired a livestream of unchecked tweets slamming the presidential candidates in real time. Afterwards, we worked with the candidates to guarantee nothing like that would ever happen again, in addition to pulling NBC from the rest of the primary calendar’s sanctioned debates.

That October 2015 debate proves why it is so critical that the debates committee should, and likely will, not only pair conservative and legacy media outlets together, but insist the moderators that are chosen will be respectful and fair to our great candidates on the stage. We don’t need Don Lemon lecturing women on the stage on whether or not they have passed their prime, nor do voters (of any political affiliation) want that.

The RNC selecting Rumble as the exclusive streaming platform over YouTube proves how Republicans from across the ecosystem are no longer letting Big Tech and legacy media continue to have their biases unchecked.

Recently, the RNC recently took a crucial step forward for general election debates when they voted to walk away from the biased Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), something that was long overdue. Asking for unbiased monitors, debates to start before Early Voting, and neutral members of the CPD are commonsense solutions towards creating a freer and fairer platform, something even Jake Tapper agrees with, yet the CPD refused to meet these demands. So Republicans, rightfully, walked away.

In the end, voters will benefit the most from fair and constructive debates during the primary and general elections.

Katie Walsh Shields is a political and public affairs consultant in Washington, DC, with more than 15 years of experience working at the highest levels of national politics and government, including serving as White House Deputy Chief of Staff and as Chief of Staff to the Republican National Committee.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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