Republican presidential candidates put the media in the crosshairs during the party's third debate on Wednesday, drawing raucous applause for accusations of bias and support for Democrats.
Ted Cruz critiqued moderator questions that he said “illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”
“This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions: Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson can you do math? John Kasich will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues that people care about?” Cruz said.
Railing on the media has been a popular refrain for Republicans running for president and Cruz's passionate monologue seemed to open the floodgates for the rest of the field to pile on.
“The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC; it’s called the mainstream media,” Rubio said after Donald Trump spoke out against the outside groups.
Earlier in the debate, Rubio dismissed a Florida newspaper’s editorial calling on him to resign for missing Senate votes while on the campaign trail.
“I read that editorial today with great amusement. It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today,” Rubio said.
Later on Chris Christie got in on the action after a Jeb Bush received a question about whether the government should regulate fantasy football.
"We’re talking about fantasy football? How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing?" he said. "Enough on fantasy football. Let people play. Who cares?”
After the debate, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus released a statement calling the questions "deeply unfortunate."
"The performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters... CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled," Priebus said in the statement.
"People who want to be President of the United States should be able to answer tough questions," CNBC spokesman Brian Steel told reporters.