CNN caves on GOP debate criteria, opening the door for Carly

Faced with the prospect of angry criticism for excluding Carly Fiorina from its GOP presidential debate two weeks from now, CNN has caved in and re-jiggered its criteria, which had heavily weighted old polls. The problem was that Carly Fiorina, relegated to the second tier debate, was widely acknowledged to have provided the best single showing of both debates, and her poll numbers rose considerably, propelling her into the top ten. Excluding her would thus seem to be placing the CNN thumb on the scale in order to exclude the sole female GOP contender from her rightful place onstage. It would also have made for a less entertaining debate, in my opinion. There might have been boycotts.

So, using a fig leaf, the “lack” of polling, CNN announced:

CNN is amending the criteria for its Republican presidential debate on September 16, possibly opening the door for Carly Fiorina to join the other top-tier candidates on the stage.

The cause: a lack of national public polling following the August 6 debate has so far provided only three new polls to determine the lineup for the Reagan Presidential Debate, according to a CNN statement.

As a result, CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August, the network announced Tuesday.

Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 7 and September 10 will be included.

The adjustment may result in additional candidates joining the top-tier debate, but the final podium placements will not be known until the eligibility window closes on September 10.

Well, good for CNN. Bowing to reality is always a good thing in journalism.

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