Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Candidate Control the Press, Not Politicians, Should Shape Debates

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Candidate Control the Press, Not Politicians, Should Shape Debates

Article excerpt

Republican presidential candidates are demanding greater control over their debates. They claim that biased moderators are trying to embarrass them with "gotcha" questions, instead of allowing them to address "real" issues.

But scrutiny of their positions is the last thing many of them want. That's why some of the proposals for format changes would turn the debates into campaign infomercials.

Last week's forum on CNBC was reviled by candidates and the Republican National Committee. Some of the questions were dumb ("What is your greatest weakness?"), but most others were fair.

It was legitimate for the moderators to ask Dr. Ben Carson - the GOP front-runner - about his affiliation with a nutritional supplement maker that has paid $7 million in settlements over its claims that its products could cure autism and cancer. Dr. Carson did not answer the question.

It was also fair to press him about his flat-tax proposal. After denying that the plan would mean big cuts in federal spending, he blandly asserted that "when we put all the facts down . …

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