First point, there was record viewership for the second debate.
The Washington Times reports:
The two-hour political extravaganza pulled in 24 million viewers according to initial Nielsen ratings numbers – breaking the all-time record for a non-sports cable event.
[…]A good comparison here: the largest audience that any debate drew in the 2012 election was 7.6 million.
[…]And about that coverage on Thursday: Of the two-hour broadcast, the candidates collectively spoke for one hour and eight minutes total. Mr. Trump spoke for 10 minutes, 32 seconds, with Jeb Bush in second place at eight minutes, 32 seconds – this according to University of Minnesota political professor Eric Ostermeier, who tallied it all up with a stop watch and a spreadsheet.
[…]Trump and Bush were the only two candidates who reached — and exceeded — that mark,” the professor adds. “They received more than their equal share of speaking time while the rest of the field was shortchanged.”
In third place was Mike Huckabee at 6:40 followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (6:39), Ohio Gov.John Kasich (6:31), Ben Carson (6:23), Sen. Marco Rubio (6:22), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (6:10), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (5:51), and in last place, Sen. Rand Paul (5:10).
The Fox News moderators spoke for 32 minutes – taking up about a third of the total on-camera dialogue.
The Fox News moderators spoke for 32 minutes. They should have spoken for 10 minutes total, and in fact I saw them say that they only intended to speak for 10 minutes, just after the early debate for second-tier candidates.
Conservative Mark Levin was not please with the Fox News moderators’ performance.
Lawyer, constitutional scholar, best selling author, and conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, in an interview on theBreitbart News Saturday radio program, expressed outrage at the Thursday night GOP presidential debate hosted by Fox News.
Levin asserted, “I think that we were all duped. The fact of the matter is that this was a ratings gambit.”
[…]Levin claims that “We the people” were overlooked in the debate, and the event became a media spectacle with more emphasis on the show’s moderators than on discussing the important issues that face America.
[…]Bannon observed that the debate reeked of “opposition research” and had a definite “adversarial” tone with the questions they asked Trump and others. Levin agreed and recounted that the question they asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker about abortion seemed prosecutorial in nature.
It’s not just that the speaking time was unfair, and actually favored the moderators, it’s that the moderators’ questions were almost entirely tabloid-style gotcha questions:
Levin described the debate as a failure to address the two hundred trillion that America faces in unfunded liabilities, the bankruptcy of the Social Security system, the fact that Medicare and Medicaid are on the brink of collapse, that our educational system costs a trillion dollars a year and is a “complete failure,” our immigration policy is a disaster, the EPA is destroying our economic system, and that our Constitution is being undermined. Levin rebuked Fox for wasting time on “pardon the phrase—trumped up stuff. To me it is such an outrage what took place. And it was planned. The questions were planned. I am very troubled by it too.”
I think Megyn Kelly in particular was a lousy moderator, and just approached the debate as a way to attract attention to herself. She was a disgrace. People say Fox News is conservative, but they were anything but conservative during the second debate. They were in it for themselves, and the Republican Party suffered. I might as well have been watching CNN, or even MSNBC.
Anyway with that in find, here are the changes in poll numbers following the debate: (H/T ECM)
Cruz, Fiorina and Carson helped themselves the most, and that’s exactly what I said in my previous post when I declared Fiorina the winner of the first debate, and Cruz and Carson the winners of the second debate.