CNN's Jake Tapper stages a food fight

Last night, the CNN Republican presidential candidates fell into a trap set by CNN’s Jake Tapper, aided by two junior questioners.

The intent, made clear in the framing of the questions, was to position the candidates to dispute each other’s positions with a focus on bringing the most heat on Donald Trump.

The tagline under the streaming video on the CNN website read: “Trump gets hit from all sides.”

Shamelessly, that’s what CNN wanted to happen, so it did. 

The consequence was much heat and little light in an event that more resembled a World Wrestling Entertainment stage than a debate among serious American presidential candidates.

Viewers can pick their own winners and losers, maybe by tallying the frequency with which panting candidates cried out, “Jake, Jake, call on me, me!”  

The biggest loser was not on the stage: Reince Priebus, and the organization that he chairs, the Republican National Committee.

Because the RNC was willing to turn over the choreographing of a debate among its leading presidential candidates to a liberal news outlet more interested in provoking an Animal House food fight than providing knowledge of candidates to the voters, those who leave the cafeteria most damaged are not any, or all, of the individual participants. 

Nor the programmed, predictable CNN questioners. 

The true loser is the ultimate sponsor of the event: the Republican National Committee.

Which makes Chairman Reince Priebus the real Bluto in the CNN cafeteria food fight.