- The Washington Times - Friday, October 30, 2015

Responding to the blowback against CNBC’s handling of the third GOP debate, the head of the Republican National Committee announced Friday that it was “suspending” its plans to partner with NBC News for a presidential debate next year.

In a letter to Andrew Lack, the head of NBC News, RNC Chair Reince Priebus said the CNBC network, which is owned by NBCUniversal News Group, conducted the GOP debate Wednesday in “bad faith.”

“I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016,” Mr. Priebus wrote. “The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.

“We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach,” he said. “However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.”

Ali Zelenko, spokesperson for NBC News, called it “a disappointing development.”

“However, along with our debate broadcast partners at Telemundo we will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party,” Ms. Zelenko said in a statement.

The debate in Colorado was the third of the GOP nomination contest, which the RNC hoped to have more control over following the unruly 2012 race.

But the moderators in prime-time debate Wednesday lost control of the event, coming under fire from the candidates, who panned their questions as inaccurate and shallow.

CNBC has since faced a barrage of criticism.

“While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,” Mr. Priebus said in the letter.

“What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates’ policies and ideas,” he said.

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