Rubio Slams Liberal Media, CBS Head for Helping Trump; ‘Dominant’ Factor in the GOP Race

Senator Marco Rubio continued his participation in the anti-Donald Trump crusade against the liberal media on Tuesday in an MSNBC Town Hall as he pointed out that Trump has received far more media coverage than all his opponents combined and was buttressed by recent comments from CBS chief Les Moonves that Trump has been great for his network’s ratings. 

Roughly four minutes into the event at Florida International University, Rubio explained that due to Florida’s size, it’s “largely been operating off the national media and the national media, to be fair, has given Donald Trump ten times as much coverage than any other Republican candidate combined and part of it is because he’s says outrageous things and part of it is cause he knows how to manipulate the media.”

Also taking a swipe at Trump’s almost-immediate response to critics, Rubio noted that “running for president is not nearly as hard as being president so you better hope your president went through a trial in the campaign, because being president is even harder.”

The liberal media’s influence on the election arose 10 minutes later when host and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd lamented to Rubio about the Citizens United decision and money in politics. 

Rubio admitted that there’s certainly “a lot of money in politics,” but has been rendered less significant thanks to the free news media coverage Trump has been given.

“If you look at what's happened in this campaign, the dominant feature of the Trump campaign has not been that he ran a bunch of commercials. It’s that he’s been able to dominate the earned media,” Rubio explained.

As Todd shook his head in disapproval, Rubio brought up recent comments CBS President Les Moonves made to The Hollywood Reporter:

[Y]ou had the head of CBS saying the other day, I don’t know, Donald Trump may not be good for America, but he's good for CBS because of ratings. [TODD SHAKES HEAD] No, but I think that's true in every one of these networks. So, there are millions and millions dollars of media that's out there and the other point I'd make, every time we tried to run a commercial, all these media outlets charge us, so we have to raise money cause you keep charging us to run commercials.

Tell the Truth 2016

In one notable portion of the debate in which the media did not come up, a student asked Rubio if his criticism of Donald Trump ran counter to his Christian faith:

My question is, how can you sacrifice basic Christian principles by loving your neighbor, as we saw with recent verbal attacks on Trump? You justified this by saying if anyone deserves it, it's him. The Bible says, we deserve hell, yet we still receive grace. As a Christian as well, this question is important to me.

Rubio expressed remorse for having gone after Donald Trump personally, but reiterated that many of his attacks on Trump have not run counter to his Christianity because he believes that much of what the billionaire has been stating on policy matters and Rubio’s record are untrue.

“When it comes to the fact he's portraying himself as he's not and has done this before throughout his career, this time, the stakes are not a worthless, $36,000 degree at Trump University. The stakes are the greatest nation on Earth and on that, I think I'm well within the reaches of my faith to do that,” Rubio declared.

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Marco Rubio Town Hall on March 9 can be found below.

MSNBC’s Marco Rubio Town Hall
March 9, 2016
8:04 p.m. Eastern

REPUBLICAN SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (Fl.): It is a state largely been operating off the national media and the national media, to be fair, has given Donald Trump ten times as much coverage than any other Republican candidate combined and part of it is because he’s says outrageous things and part of it is cause he knows how to manipulate the media, but it's had an impact. We're working on reversing that now here in Florida. It's going to be a lot hard work, but you know what, I've been in tough races before. It's an election. You have to got out and earn these things. Let me tell you, running for president is not nearly as hard as being president so you better hope your president went through a trial in the campaign, because being president is even harder.

(....)

8:10 p.m. Eastern

STUDENT JOSE ANDREAS CAMACHO: My question is, how can you sacrifice basic Christian principles by loving your neighbor, as we saw with recent verbal attacks on Trump? You justified this by saying if anyone deserves it, it's him. The Bible says, we deserve hell, yet we still receive grace. As a Christian as well, this question is important to me. 

RUBIO: Well, let me say on the policy issues, I don't think that violates my faith because there’s also something as indignation and when someone is telling you something in a — and we’re talking about the presidency of the United States, so you're going to elect the next commander in chief, someone that will have a real impact on the future of our country and their representing themselves as someone who they're not, I think it’s appropriate to the campaign to pose out. In terms of personal stuff, at the end of the day it's is not something I'm proud of. My kids were embarrassed by it. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't. Not on the other charges. Not on the other things. When it comes to the fact he's portraying himself as he's not and has done this before throughout his career, this time, the stakes are not a worthless, $36,000 degree at Trump University. The stakes are the greatest nation on Earth and on that, I think I'm well within the reaches of my faith to do that.

(....)

8:15 p.m. Eastern

RUBIO: Well, look, there's a lot of money in politics, but here's the bottom line. If you look at what's happened in this campaign, the dominant feature of the Trump campaign has not been that he ran a bunch of commercials. It’s that he’s been able to dominate the earned media and you had the head of CBS saying the other day, I don’t know, Donald Trump may not be good for America, but he's good for CBS because of ratings. [TODD SHAKES HEAD] No, but I think that's true in every one of these networks. So, there are millions and millions dollars of media that's out there and the other point I'd make, every time we tried to run a commercial, all these media outlets charge us, so we have to raise money cause you keep charging us to run commercials. 

CHUCK TODD: So there’s no — [APPLAUSE] That, I hear you. There's no magic wand you'd wave here. 

RUBIO: I don’t know. The First Amendment is so broad it allows people to run ads that are lying about me, so they're allowed to do it. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center