The GOP is suspending its relationship with NBC News, according to an open letter from Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus to NBC News chairman Andrew Lack. The letter announcing the decision was posted on the party's website today.
Priebus says that following discussions with each campaign "we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016" because CNBC's handling of the debate "was conducted in bad faith."
Following Wednesday's Republican debate on CNBC, the GOP and several Republican commentators were upset over the quality of the moderators and what they viewed as several "gotcha" questions.
"I was very disappointed in the moderators," Ted Cruz told journalists following the debate, according to CNN. "I'm disappointed in CNBC." Chris Christie also took some time to mock the moderators during the debate, complaining about a question concerning fantasy football.
GOP chairman Reince Priebus applauded the individual candidates who dealt with "deeply unfortunate questions." Priebus even tweeted his displeasure with the network shortly after the debate ended.
In response, a spokesperson for CNBC told Mashable "anybody who wants to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions."
In his letter Priebus cites numerous occasions from the debate where CNBC did not do what they promised.
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.
He calls the overall tenor of the debate's question "inaccurate or downright offensive" and no more than “'gotcha' questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates."
Priebus closes by saying that the debate scheduled for that day will go on as planned and that he supports the First Amendment. Thank goodness!
NBC released a statement in response to Priebus' letter this afternoon, saying:
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.
We will update this article if NBC and the GOP are able to resolve their differences for what would be the 10th Republican debate of the 2016 campaign cycle.
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