Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I'm confused about whether "Jeb can fix it" is about his own campaign or about the country. And if about the latter, is he getting ahead of himself?

Donald Trump has just announced that he won't be joining or signing the letter put together by the other Republican candidates trying to set the terms for future debates. Trump says he'll be negotiating directly with the networks on his own. On its face it makes perfect sense: banding together with other candidates in single digits to demand niceness and fairness is not at all in line with Trump's brand. But more than that, the Syndicate's aims seem heavily focused on propping up or getting more time for Hucks and Bushes in the race who are struggles to crest over 5% support anywhere.

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As the epic, historic post-debate drama unfolded and RNC Chair Reince Priebus wrote NBC out of the RNC book of life/debates last week, one of our readers made a pretty obvious point. If this were a matter of the President or the White House or Congress or the Democrats axing Fox News, not only would there be a chorus of whining from Fox (understandable enough) but all the other networks would almost certainly be coming together to support Fox on free press grounds.

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I'd ask what RNC Chair Reince Priebus is talking about when he says "we were betrayed" by CNBC. But really, I doubt he actually believes this stuff. But base Republicans have been whipped up into a stir. So he has to feed the outrage monster. Think about it, talking about a news network: "We were betrayed." They're actually going public with this histrionic nonsense. Amazing.

Perhaps an outsider to this drama can offer a way out of this impasse: CNN revives weird hologram machine they used that one time to create hologram interview with Will.I.Am, refocus it to tune in Ronald Reagan, have him be sole moderator for GOP debates.

As you see, the RNC has now expelled NBC News from the Republican debate schedule, charging them - in full and calculated hyperventilation - with conducting the debate in "bad faith."

If I don't say so myself, I think my comparison to the Boehner drama was more prescient than I realized. There has to be someone betraying them or some new outrage to feed the machine. With Obama fading into history, with the 'establishment's' candidate vanquished, now it's NBC News. You get a sense of where this is going that Ted Cruz says that Limbaugh or Hannity should moderate the debates. To be clear, this isn't about whether the debate was good or bad or whether axing NBC is fair or not. (I said the debate was a mess while it was happening.) In the grandest sense, who cares? It's just that the entire drama and whine-a-thon is ridiculous. This is their new big issue? Like I said, the outrage needs a target. Who's betraying them now. The pattern takes over everything.

Despite all our disagreements and polarization in this country, all seem to agree that the CNBC debate was a disaster. What's notable though is that no one seems to agree why it was so bad. Indeed, the key attacks and critiques are actually mutually contradictory. Lots of people, myself included, were surprised that most of the debate moderators, besides John Harwood, seemed so poorly prepared. Betsy Quick had Trump dead to rights on her Mark Zuckerberg question but was so poorly prepared that when Trump flatly denied her accurate claim she could only respond, "So where did I read this and come up with this ..." On top of that, CNBC gave a lot of time to pet network ranters like Santelli and Cramer. In other words, one critique was that the questions tended toward the obscure and they let the candidates off too easy. But Republicans are now in open revolt because of media bias.

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