An editorial in the National Review today calls for an end to the presidential primary debates as we know them, without the mainstream media:
Come the 2016 election season, the RNC should set the number, dates, and locations of debates. They should be fewer in number than the 20-odd we will see before this year is out, so that they are not so unduly agenda-setting. And the party should partner with local party officials, conservative think tanks, alternative media, tea-party groups, and grassroots organizations to determine formatting and questions.
By the conservative magazine's logic, primaries are "parochial," therefore debates should be organized by smaller organizations rather than the big corporate TV networks. But the editors at National Review want their debates and they want to eat them, too. While they don't want debates to be run by, say NBC or ABC, they admit "for broadcast purposes," the MSM "may still be necessary."
Maybe. Probably. But when you need someone and for a pretty big purpose (broadcasting), you don't get to set the rules exclusively.
The National Review editorial board has an idea. But so did Newt Gingrich when he said if he were the Republican nominee he would "not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators." It's an idea, but okay, Newt, who's going to moderate then? Donald Trump? hahaha.
I hate looking at Brian Williams's face as much as anyone, but come on.
So long as the MSM has the money (they do) and the audience (they do, even if it has gotten smaller) they'll be calling the shots.