Here, from Catherine Rampell's column in the Washington Post (reprinted in the Daily Star/tucson.com), are three lessons taught to the Republican candidates prior to their so-called debate.
The Republican presidential candidates are right. The media does suck.
But not for the reasons the candidates complained about Wednesday night.
We in the media suck because we have rewarded their rampant dishonesty and buffoonery with nonstop news coverage. Which, of course, has encouraged more dishonesty and buffoonery.
Hence the aggravating behaviors that candidates doubled-down on during the debate, based on lessons that we in the media taught them. To wit:
Lesson No. 1: Lie, but lie confidently.
Look straight into the camera, and with complete conviction, say something that is not true. Maybe your lies will get fact-checked later, but if your certainty can sufficiently excite pundits in the interim, no one will care (or notice) that you lied. [Scriber: And speak in a calm, soothing voice; your critics will be lulled into complacency.]
Lesson No. 2: Invent your own math.
In recent weeks, Donald Trump has suggested that he can simultaneously cut tax revenue by trillions of dollars, protect entitlements from cuts and balance the budget. He’s also pledged to raise taxes on the rich while simultaneously cutting taxes for the rich. [Scriber: remember how the moderator let Carson off the hook on his budget busting tithe?]
Lesson No. 3: If you can’t think of something better to say, just bash the media.
In the end, the biggest applause lines were all media insults. They came from Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. [Scriber: it wasn't just the candidates - remember who the audience booed?]
Guess whom CNBC then crowned the winners of the debate? Rubio, Cruz and Christie.