Candidates in the Fox Business undercard debate didn’t answer questions, they just gave stump speeches to questions they wanted to respond to. For instance, Chris Christie used a pivot to Hillary Clinton as a get out of jail free card 11 times. Bobby Jindal fear-mongered about Hillary Clinton 5 times.
The undercard debate questions were sometimes so out of reality and geared toward a soundbite answer they seemed like the network was giving free ad time to the candidates. This makes sense because after the Republicans whined so much about the CNBC debate moderators and hammered them for asking tough questions, Fox Business is following in the footsteps of its parent company in being a friend to Republicans.
Politico reported that unlike CNBC, Fox Business network took great pains to make sure the candidates were comfortable in their greenrooms and to scrub questions to get rid of “bias.”
Those who have been briefed on the network’s plans say it wants its debate to be what CNBC’s wasn’t: policy-focused and chaos-free. One senior Fox Business official said the network was spending the final hours in the run-up to the program carefully scrubbing questions to ensure they “squeezed out nonsense and bias.”
Scrubbed for bias must mean scrubbed for any issue that would be tough to answer. This could be why they started off with a question about how Americans hate Obamacare and then launched into a fictional world where the economy is super bad and President Obama is driving jobs out of the country. Although moderators asked a few questions in which they pointed out that Obama had added jobs, there was absolutely no push back on outright fictional answers or fact-checking.
It was a snoozer of a debate, and hopefully the end of the undercard debates, but if it was a preview of how Fox Business will handle the main event, it’s a propaganda fest.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.