1. Managing to define the totally business-controlled CNBC as a dastardly part of the "liberal press," out to do them harm by asking any question they don't find it convenient to answer.
2. Finally make it totally legitimate to deal with any question that challenges them in any way, by ignoring it and simply going off on a tirade against the press, accompanied by thunderous applause from their hand-picked audience of ignorant savages.
This method of dealing with things was, of course, raised from an occasional dodge to SOP by Sarah Palin. This is one of the legacies that she left us: utterly misplaced anger is now a substitute to answering a question.
3. By canceling the upcoming debate that was to have been run by NBC, they have established that they do not need to have even the pretense that this is a real effort to examine the candidates' beliefs. They are now free to run these debates as nothing but a cynical political sideshow; a self-awarded freedom they will certainly take advantage of.
4. Surrendering to the candidates the right to determine what sort of questions get asked. Given the cynical bunch of grifters they have assembled, you can imagine how that will work out.
There has been a decade long (at least) trend among Republican candidates to insist that they not be forced to answer any questions they don't want to, or submit to anything even resembling an impartial interview. They have turned the right of the public to know who the candidates are, into the right of the candidates to have nothing known about them except their packaged publicity. This is ideal for Republicans, of course, because their real agenda- stripping the country of its wealth, to give to their rich backers- is hardly likely to have widespread appeal. In order to win elections, it is vital to them that they prevent any real information about themselves from seeing the light of day. This newest manipulation of the debate process is one more step toward an election process that is as forthright as a Volkswagen pollution control system.
Update: I see the following today at Think Progress:
"Top Republicans Seek To End Most Debating, Replace It With Infomercial
Ben Carson is seeking to rally Republican candidates to end most actual debating at future Republican debates. Instead, candidates would spend most of their time taking turns delivering speeches.
Carson’s campaign is convening a meeting of various campaigns on Sunday night. The campaigns will discuss Carson’s proposal, which includes “a minimum of five minutes for opening and closing statements with all major declared GOP candidates on stage.” There are currently 14 candidates that have regularly been appearing in debates. Giving them five minutes each for opening and closing statements would take 140 minutes, which is more than the total time for a typical two hour debate."
Pretty much just what I said.