"To improve the quality of the debates and eradicate the commercial toxicity tainting the events, news organizations should get out of the business of sponsoring debates," Stevens writes. "Let’s don’t kid ourselves. These 'debates' have become phony entertainment spectacles not serious news events."
The Republican strategist said the contests are promoted like professional wrestling with "breathless hype."
In a phone call with top donors following the election, Romney himself pointed the finger at the debates for weakening his campaign.
“We had 20 Republican debates, that was absolutely nuts,” he said. “It opened us up to gaffes and to material that could be used against us in the general, and we were fighting these debates for a year, and the incumbent president just sat back and laughed.”
Romney also suggested that some of the debate host networks were biased against Republican candidates
“[Republicans should] agree that we’re gonna do, you know, I don’t know, eight debates, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna do one a month, and we’re gonna pick stations that are reasonable. It’s not all gonna be done by CNN and NBC, all right. I mean we’re gonna try and guide this process so that it’s designed to showcase the best of our people as opposed to showcasing liberals beating the heck out of us,” Romney said.