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These events are called debates, but they’re really not. They’re simply an opportunity for chosen media types to have their moment in the sun to directly challenge men and women who desire to lead our country.

They don’t have to like them or their politics – and they clearly don’t – but what happened to unbiased and fair?

Media bias is center stage. It’s clear a liberal agenda is behind much of the questioning and the candidates are baited into controversy. What’s different this year is that the candidates are fighting back verbally.

Right out of the gate on last week’s CNN debate, moderator John King asked Newt Gingrich if he wanted to talk about an ABC interview with his ex-wife made public that day.

Gingrich was classic.

Does he want to talk about it? “No.” Pause. “But I will,” and he proceeded to excoriate King and CNN for opening a national, presidential, political debate with a question about sex. He spoke of the “destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the media – making it hard to govern the country and hard to get good people to run for office.

His series of accusations was exquisite, concluding with, “I’m tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”

He got two standing ovations, and King looked like someone had drenched him with hot water.

In the Fox debate last Monday, Juan Williams chose race-baiting, challenging Newt Gingrich because he’d said that poor children need to learn good work ethics and skills and they could do work in the schools, including janitorial work, as a means to learn about jobs and to earn money.

To Williams, that was a racial slam at blacks, but Newt would have none of that and handled it directly and deftly.

Williams, stubbornly tried again, insinuating race because Gingrich called Obama “the food stamp president.”

Gingrich responded specifically that Obama has authorized more food stamps than any other president in history. It’s numbers, not race.

The issue of Mitt Romney’s wealth won’t go away. He is rich, but so what? To hear the media, you’d think he was a robber baron.

Yes, he has investments. He admits he’s not on salary, so his current income is from investments and taxed at 15 percent. It’s made to sound criminal.

So is the fact his blind trust has placed some investments in the Cayman Islands. It’s made to sound like tax evasion; it’s not. The U.S. has global taxation, so wherever a citizen earns money, taxes are paid.

The flood of presidential debates has morphed from delving into the candidate’s position on national issues to a hi-tech pi–ing contest among the news outlets to see which can be the most outrageous.

They may like it, but the people don’t. Cheering audiences prove it. It’s no secret the media aren’t liked or trusted, and they’ll feel the backlash in falling ratings.

In fact, they already have. It couldn’t happen to a nicer group.

Follow Barbara Simpson on Facebook.

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