Tags: Fox News | GOP | Debate | 2016 | presidential election

Report: Fox Debate Rules Places High Value on Name ID

By    |   Monday, 25 May 2015 02:28 PM

The debate rules set up by cable networks such as Fox News teaches candidates that name recognition and a high national profile matter more than grass roots and retail campaigning in early caucus and primary states, according to a report by Politico.

In order to qualify for the first Republican debate, which will be held on Aug. 6 on Fox News, GOP candidates must be in the top 10 of an average of five national polls. The debate rules were endorsed by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

While presidential hopefuls such as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, California businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry have been spending time in Iowa and New Hampshire, with much acclaim from the voters in those states, it may be of little use to them if they want to take part in the first Republican presidential debate.

The debate rules, Politico argues, helps those candidates who have a "higher name ID . . . even if it was built by working the network green rooms rather than the grass roots."

Santorum criticized the debate criteria created by Fox News as "arbitrary" as well as unfair to viewers. He said it excludes well qualified candidates who are senators, governors or even a woman, such as Fiorina, "who ran a Fortune 500 company," he said Thursday, following a speech he gave at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, The Washington Post reported.

However, the former Pennsylvania senator said that ultimately "it's not whether it's fair to the candidates or not. It has nothing to do with the candidates. It has to do with the American people ... What's fair to them is to see some really sharp people who, at least at this point, are almost decidedly not going to be in unless things change. And that's not a good thing for the process."

Florida Republican strategist Rick Wilson told Politico "it's the [Donald] Trump problem. He's an entirely un-serious candidate but one with very serious name ID."

Trump brings name recognition with him that other candidates can only dream of, and according to Politico, when his name is included in polls, it puts him in contention to make the top 10.

Other candidates who have an edge are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hosted a show on Fox while taking a break from politics, and pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who is a tea party favorite, a frequent guest on Fox News and brings a certain level of notoriety from his life story and success as a surgeon.

Santorum explained that another reason he disagrees with the guidelines set forth by Fox is because national polls in primaries can be meaningless in terms of the success of a candidate at the state level.

"The idea that a national poll has any relationship to the viability of a candidate — ask Rudy Giuliani that, ask Phil Gramm that," Santorum added while speaking at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City. "You can go on down the list of folks who were doing real well in national polls and didn't win a single state and were not a viable candidate."

Santorum won the Iowa caucus in 2012. He was also the runner-up to to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, even though he didn't perform well in national polls at the beginning of that election cycle, Politico notes.

Wilson told Politico that he predicts that the debate guidelines could motivate candidates to campaign differently so that they don't get phased out of the debates.

"This is really going to incentivize a new and different style of campaigning early on," Wilson said. "It puts a new emphasis on earned media, social media, on trying to get candidates out there in the bigger markets earlier than if this were just the usual progression across Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and so on."

As for CNN, who is hosting a GOP debate on Sept. 16, it has decided to split the crowded Republican field into two groups — one featuring the top 10 candidates and another group who don't make the top 10 but have a minimum of 1 percent in public polls.

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Politics
The debate rules set up by cable networks such as Fox News teaches candidates that name recognition and a high national profile matter more than grass roots and retail campaigning in early caucus and primary states, according to a report by Politico.
Fox News, GOP, Debate, 2016, presidential election
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2015-28-25
Monday, 25 May 2015 02:28 PM
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