While Fox News has remained silent about the Republican effort to coalesce around a list of debate demands, some on-air personalities have expressed their incredulity with the entire stunt.
Following last week’s CNBC debate debacle—rife with loaded questions and unprepared moderators—the candidates attempted to unite under a set of requirements for future debates (not including the Nov. 10 event hosted by Fox Business Network). Among their demands: 30-second opening and closing remarks; equal time between speakers; pre-approval for on-air graphics; and hall temperature kept below 67 degrees.
On Monday evening, it began to appear as though the revolt had fallen apart: Donald Trump said he will negotiate directly with the broadcasters; Chris Christie said, “Set up a stage, put podiums up there, and let’s just go”; John Kasich opted not to sign the letter; Jeb Bush seemed to have no interest in canceling any debates; and Carly Fiorina’s camp didn’t even bother attending the discussions.
Perhaps that’s because the demands were so ridiculous. And Fox’s Megyn Kelly, Shepard Smith, and Gregg Jarrett would agree.
On Sunday afternoon, as the candidates’ respective camps prepared to convene, Jarrett took a decidedly skeptical tone on-air. “Isn’t it dangerous for politicians to be dictating to journalists?” he asked a guest.
“They seem to resent challenging questions which, to me, is confounding,” he added. “Do they then cross the line into just sort of sounding like fourth grade whiners?”
Later in the segment, Jarrett did the unthinkable and pushed back on the narrative that the Democratic candidates got easier treatment in their first debate. “That’s not true,” he asserted. “The first question out of the box was to Bernie Sanders, ‘Why would any American vote for a socialist?’ And immediately Hillary Clinton was asked, ‘Aren’t you a flip-flopper?’”
“You can’t say the Dems are getting off easy,” the anchor concluded.
On Monday afternoon, when Fox’s lead breaking news anchor Shep Smith described the shortlist of Republican demands, he remarked, with his trademark snark: “These from the men and women who want to be president.”
And later that evening, the network’s most visible primetime star taunted the Republicans while reading off their stipulations. “Oh yeah, that’s not gonna happen,” Megyn Kelly chuckled, adding to the list of demands, “Maybe, like, a foot massage?” She then reached behind her neck and mimicked a rubdown.
Kelly’s on-air guest Chris Stirewalt joined in, joking that maybe the candidates want all brown M&M’s removed from the greenroom candy bowls.
“Can you imagine having to submit our graphics for approval to the candidates?” Kelly asked in disbelief.
Luckily, she and other anchors won’t have to. This anti-media revolt is dead.