In an "Anderson Cooper 360" segment on Thursday, Cooper and a panel of guests discussed what the network could have done differently on Wednesday night. The host said the moderators' lack of preparation only helped Republicans push the narrative that the "mainstream media" is biased.
"I certainly think those moderators gave them a lot of ammunition and really made it very easy, because I do think some of the questions just seemed kind of obvious ones that they could be attacked on," Cooper, who was widely praised for his moderation of a Democratic primary debate earlier this month, said.
CNN's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, added that the moderators' goal seemed to be to provoke conflict between the candidates -- which he noted ended up "backfiring" on them.
"There's also conflict bias, and that's what we saw last night," he said. "These moderators wanted to provoke conflict, and it turned out to hurt them."
Stelter said he was confused as to why the CNBC moderators weren't expecting Republican candidates to target them during the debate.
"There were lots of hints, lots of very clear smoking guns that the candidates were going to gang up on the moderators. That they were going to make it about media bias," he said. "Why the moderators weren't prepared to push back, that is what is so perplexing to me."
Cooper responded by criticizing the network's preparation for the debate.
"I mean, it was just poorly produced, to be honest," Cooper said.
Watch the clip from "Anderson Cooper 360°" above.