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Why Are Rick Perry And Mitt Romney Getting About Twice As Much Talking Time During The Republican Debates As The Other Candidates?

The American Dream
Sept 26, 2011

Considering the fact that no real votes will be cast until next year and considering the fact that the polls are constantly changing, shouldn’t all of the candidates participating in the Republican debates be given roughly the same amount of time to talk?  After all, what kind of a “debate” is it when certain candidates are given double (or sometimes even triple) the amount of talking time?  Why is it that Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have been getting about twice as much talking time as the other candidates during the Republican debates?  It is amazing that more people are not calling into question the credibility of these “debates”.  Whether you support one of the Republican candidates or not, we should all be able to agree that one of the goals for these debates should be to treat the candidates as fairly and evenly as possible.  Unfortunately, as the numbers you are about to see indicate, that is definitely not happening.

According to blogger Wes Hemings, the following is how much talking time each candidate received during the last Republican debate….

Romney 12:09
Perry 11:10
Huntsman 7:41
Santorum 7:06
Cain 6:23
Bachmann 6:13
Gingrich 5:44
Ron Paul 4:33
Johnson 4:10

So was it just Fox News that was so slanted?

What has happened at other recent Republican debates?

Well, Hemmings also analyzed the distribution of talking time during the recent Republican debate on CNN….

Perry  13:54
Romney  10:56
Ron Paul  7:34
Bachmann  8:35
Newt  7:32
Cain  5:42
Santorum  7:06
Huntsman  7:50

Wow – that debate certainly did not seem fair either.

Hemmings also broke down the talking time allotted to each candidate during the recent MSNBC debate….

Perry 14:59
Mitt 11:57
Paul 9:19
Bachmann 9:05
Newt 6:53
Herman 5:41
Santorum 6:11
Huntsman 8:52

In all three debates, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney received far more talking time than any of the other candidates.  They are always positioned at center stage and the attention never stays away from those two for very long.

These debates reinforce the perception that none of the other candidates even has a chance.  For example, a recent USA Today article entitled “GOP debates signal a race between Romney and Perry” made the following statement….

The debates have bolstered what most polls of the Republican race have shown; it’s a two-man race between Perry and Romney.

All of the major news networks spend far more time talking about Perry and Romney than they do about the other candidates.  Then during the debates, Perry and Romney receive far more talking time than the other candidates do.  Then after the debates, most of the talking heads spend most of their time talking about how Perry and Romney did (even if their instant online polls show that one of the other candidates won the debate).

There is something fundamentally un-American about what has been going on in these debates.  How is our choice of candidates supposed to be legitimate when two candidates keep getting pushed to the front?

Another thing that the numbers above reveal is a significant bias in favor of “establishment candidates” on the part of those running the debates.

Okay, if they want to give Perry and Romney extra time because they are leading in the polls, then why don’t those rules apply to all the other candidates?  For example, Jon Huntsman (an establishment candidate) has been averaging 1.2% support in recent polls.  Yet Huntsman received more talking time than any of the other “second tier” candidates in the last debate.  In fact, he received more than 50% more talking time than some of them.

If polls are going to mean so much during these debates, then it is not just Perry and Romney that should benefit.  For example, during the recent debate on Fox News, the first question went to Rick Perry (1st in the polls at the time), the second question went to Mitt Romney (2nd in the polls at the time), and then the candidate that was running third in the polls at the time (Ron Paul) was completely skipped over.  In fact, they didn’t come back to him until well into the debate.

Herman Cain is currently getting more than 4 times the support in the polls that Jon Huntsman is getting, and yet Huntsman has been given significantly more talking time during each of the recent Republican debates.

So why is Huntsman getting so much talking time?

He barely even registers in the polls.

What in the world is going on?

It seems as though there is a less than subtle attempt by the mainstream media to feature establishment candidates such as Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and John Huntsman.  But if any of them is actually elected, things will continue to run pretty much the same way that they did under Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

No matter who we seem to elect, not much seems to change.  We could really use some fresh thinking in the White House, and yet the mainstream media continues to push establishment candidates into our faces.

The favoritism for Rick Perry and Mitt Romney has become so obvious that even Saturday Night Live is making jokes about the fact that none of the other candidates seem to have a shot at winning.  You can see video of the Saturday Night Live spoof of the recent Republican debates right here.

No real votes are going to be cast for Republican candidates until next February.  What would be the harm in giving each of the candidates an equal number of questions and a roughly equal amount of time to express their views?

I was deeply insulted by how Fox News, CNN and MSNBC handled the recent debates.  It should be obvious to any thinking human being that Perry and Romney are being favored.  Republican voters are being highly manipulated and it is disgusting.

How is it fair that Mitt Romney got 18.65% of the talking time in the last debate but Michele Bachmann only got only 9.54% of the talking time?

How is it fair that Rick Perry got 17.14% of the talking time in the last debate but Herman Cain only got 9.80% of the talking time?

How is it fair that Jon Huntsman got 11.79% of the talking time in the last debate but Ron Paul only got 6.98% of the talking time?

Even if you support Perry, Romney or Huntsman, you should still be in favor of fair and balanced debates.

Right now, the Republican Party is losing credibility because of these debates, the mainstream news media is losing credibility because of these debates and our entire political process is losing credibility because of these debates.

Is there anyone out there that is able to defend the shameful favoritism that is going on?

If so, please step up to the plate.

In fact, if anyone out there would like to share their thoughts on the recent Republican debates, please feel free to leave a comment below….


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