Fox debate by the numbers
How low has Fox slipped?
According to the social media outlets dominated by conservatives, that is the consensus question. Fox's debate moderation was nothing short of cringe-worthy. The network’s moderators were obsessed with their own face time and with starting fights on stage between participants.
It is clear they are intending to doom Donald Trump, while remaining committed to ignoring Ted Cruz.
Consider a few stunning – and what should be embarrassing – numbers from Thursday's debate:
40: Ted Cruz was ignored for 40 straight minutes during the debate – with the mods even skipping Cruz on the topics of Iran and yes, Obamacare. How in the world can you take yourself seriously when you don't invite Cruz into an Obamacare discussion? Perhaps it's because Fox was so arrogantly assuring everyone back during the Cruz Obamacare shutdown filibuster that it was going to cost the Republicans the Senate in 2014. How did that turn out?
59: It was 59 minutes before a single moderator mentioned any Democrat – and it was a question that involved Hillary Clinton. It's as if Barack Obama hasn't been president for almost 7 years and as if these are just normal times and this is just a normal election. Maybe that's what Fox thinks. It apparently has never crossed their collective minds that what voters want is a plan for defeating the Democrats and then for rolling back the 7 years of devastation that have been wrought by them. They're not interested in any of that.
31: Talk about ego. The three moderators of the prime-time debate spent nearly a third of their time on themselves! Yes, with 10 candidates needing exposure, 31 percent of the airtime went to the Fox crew. Not even Donald Trump got close to that kind of exposure – and he got more than any other candidate by far.
1: Bret Baier doggone well knew that one, and only one candidate, would refuse to pledge to support whoever the Republican nominee is, and he started off the entire debate with that insulting and smarmy "by a show of hands" charade. This is the utmost in subtle pomposity, as it puts the moderator in the position of professor while the candidates are subconsciously relegated to student status. By the way, over the years, it's been intellectually vapid as well; almost all of the "show of hands" questions are impossible-to-fully-answer theoreticals.
3 out of 4: Three out of the first four questions asked by Chris Wallace were specifically designed to get two specific candidates on the stage at each other’s throats. They wanted a catfight – and when they got it with the Rand Paul v. Chris Christie exchange. (Megyn Kelly squealed her delight like a schoolgirl.)
And so on. And this is why Fox is being widely criticized on conservative social media and by talk radio hosts. But not all is lost for Fox, I guess. The New York Times and CNN gave them rave reviews. Unabashedly. And why not? Fox left Obama and Hillary largely unscathed. They barely mentioned Planned Parenthood. Just a few seconds on Obamacare. No wonder the far left loved Fox last night.
That's called damning with praise. I rest my case.
C. Edmund Wright is the author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again and contributor to Newsmax TV, Breitbart, American Thinker, and Talk Radio Network.