Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

March 7, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FIGHTING BACK....This isn't really my thing (which is why I haven't blogged about it before), but the activist blogs have been up in arms for the past couple of weeks about the Democratic Party's decision to allow Fox News to host a primary debate in Nevada. I still don't have a lot to say about this, but just wanted to mention it for the benefit of readers who may not have been following the whole thing. Bottom line: the activists appear to have the party on the run; John Edwards has pulled out of the debate; and Fox News is now being treated like the propaganda arm of the Republican Party that it is. Matt Stoller has a brief summary here.

This is good work from the activists -- though my own preference would be to keep the debate on Fox with some tightly negotiated requirements for how they run the thing. (After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.) Like Matt, I'm a little surprised that the activist community's pushback has had such a big impact in such a short time, but that's the blogosphere for you. This whole thing is a real bellwether of how much bloggers have changed political media dynamics in the past couple of years.

Kevin Drum 2:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (112)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

As Reagan said, "trust, but punish first".
Or something like that.

Posted by: jussumbody on March 7, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Watching the loony left drive off a centrist news source like Fox has truly been a site to behold. I suppose they're somewhat spoiled, because they have the luxury of retreating to liberal networks like ABC or CNN any time they want. Still, trying to punish any network that strives to be fair and balanced is a horrible precedent.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

What?? Fox News a propaganda arm of the White House?

C'mon, Kevin -- FN is the only outfit with the guts to stand up to reality's obvious liberal bias...

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on March 7, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Trust but verify" is the phrase you're looking for, but anyone who still trusts Fox hasn't even made a minimal effort to verify.

Posted by: toolate on March 7, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that everybody criticizing fox in this thread gets the entirety of their exposure to fox news from media matters. So, let's start with Kevin. Kevin, when's the last time you actually watched Fox News? Or are you criticizing something without seeing it?

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I, for one, signed a petition and sent out a number of emails. Why legitimize Republican propaganda media? The last time Fox "monitored" a debate, they used selective editing for their broadcast. They are simply too dishonest for anyone to cater to their audience.

Posted by: Mike on March 7, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Discrediting Fox as a "fair and balanced" news source is in tension with reaching Fox viewers.

I agree that discrediting Fox is more important.

Any concessions the Dems obtained would be for just this debate. It's not like Fox News Network is going to clean-up its act.

So, screw Fox. If they want to play partisan games, let's respond to partisanship with partisanship.

Negotiating with bad faith adversaries is for chumps and weaklings.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

FOX will act just like the republican party around election time. Rules will negotiated up front, but once the debate begins, all bets are off. And afterwards, they get nothing but a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: djshay on March 7, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Faux News viewers aren't reachable not teachable.

Just look up thread a couple of comments for verification of this assertion.

When a news station has a segment on one of their shows that declares fellow Americans with opposing opinions to theirs "Enemy of the State" - they lose all pretense of "fair" and "balanced."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.

Kevin, then how come you aren't coming out stronger against Stoller, Kos and their extremist position Democrats should have nothing to do with Fox News? Not every news channel can be like Olbermann on MSNBC, or Stewart and Colbert. If Democrats want to maintain their majority in Congress they need to realize they have to reach out to people who don't agree with all of their left wing views and that includes conservatives, moderates, and libertarians who watch Fox News.

Posted by: Al on March 7, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, perhaps it's better to show Fox that we won't take anything sitting down, because it's still possible to have many debates before the primary season kicks into high gear. That way, we get some muscle for the future, without losing much, if anything, in the way of information about each candidate.

Posted by: Brian on March 7, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, have your read the Program on Int'l Policy Attitudes study that showed Fox News Network viewers were the most misinformed people on Iraq in the country? And the more time the viewers spent watching Fox the more likely they were to "know" inaccurate information about Iraq.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that everybody criticizing fox in this thread gets the entirety of their exposure to fox news from media matters.

You guess wrong.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl-- Keith Olbermann does the exact same thing with "Worst Person in the World", usually criticizing whoever disagrees with radical democrats that week. Are you discrediting MSNBC too?

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, when are the Republicans going to invite Markos Moulitsas to moderate their debates? It would help them reach new audiences....

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

liberal networks like ABC

Spit take!

ABC is the network that brought us the fictionalized, jingoistic 9/11 docudrama. ABC owns Disney, and just google 'Disney' and Spocko's Brain' to verify just how liberal they are.

What a wackjob.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Carl-- That study was flawed.

My favorite example: http://65.109.167.118/pipa/pdf/oct03/IraqMedia_Oct03_quaire.pdf

Question 15 claims that the Bush administration played an important part in 9/11, which never happened! It was partisan and staged.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Calling someone the Worst Person in the World is not tantamount to accusing them of Treason.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk, are you concerned that the more people watch Fox News Network the worse they do on tests about simple information on the Iraq War?

What would you think of a textbook that caused students to do worse on tests of the material the more they read the book?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Fox should not be allowed to call itself news channel. They sell propaganda and are not interested in informing the public. If we really want to change the course of politics in this country we need to stop pretending that Fox is a legitimate news agency. It's not.

Posted by: D. on March 7, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, do you dispute that the Bush administration linked (Iraq and Saddam Hussein) to the 9/11 attacks?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lending any sort of "credibility" to Faux News is not in the interest of the Democratic party.

Have you tried to actually watch FN? I dare anyone to try to use it as a primary source of TV news for one week.

It is such a propaganda machine that it reminds me of the old "Soviet" newscasts from 30 years ago. If it weren't so scary, it'd be funny.

Posted by: Ranger Jay on March 7, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Carl-- They never said Iraq played an important role in 9/11. They said that, at best, there were some relational ties. The study made the "important role" verbiage up out of whole cloth.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

This early in the campaign, I say, let the debate go on- then use Fox's antics as justification for ignoring Fox for the rest of the campaign. Additionally, maybe it is time for the Dems to realize there are certain Americans who they cannot reach. The chasm is currently too wide. George W. Bush still has a 30% approval rating. Really, why spend money, time and effort to reach those people- I see no possible benefit. We keep thinking that politics are polarizing the American people. Maybe it is time to evaluate the fact that the American people are the cause of political polarization. I think that Republican operatives figured this out long ago. It is a truth that Democratic candidates cannot afford to ignore. Break out the electoral map and calculator and deal with it.

Posted by: Out on Bond on March 7, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

BLue Girl-- What about CBS? That's the network that used forged documents to smear the service record of a Vietnam-era veteran who received an honorable discharge... and that veteran just happened to be the nation's conservative president.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm curious - Lots of my friends think Fox News is broadcasting from somewhere in the gamma quadrant, but on the other hand they can all riff Simpson's quotes for hours. Why hasn't there been an effort to convince people to stop consuming other products from Murdoch et al? The reality-based community abandoned Fox News long ago, so we can't threaten to watch it less, but Fox Entertainment's a whole other ballgame.

Posted by: anon on March 7, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, was the Bush administration being dishonest when it linked (Iraq and Saddam Hussein) to the 9/11 attacks?

Did the Bush administration link (Iraq and Saddam Hussein) to (al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks)?

Were these links made using factual evidence or rhetorical tricks and misleading statements?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, do you believe Bush went to all his drill weekends and fulfilled all his Air National Guard duties?

Why didn't anyone see him there?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Carl-- False premise on the first question, it never said Iraq was responsible for 9/11.

The administration said there were some contacts between Iraq and AQ, which was true. Find me the quote where they said Iraq was responsible for 9/11 or "played an important role". You can't: The 'study' made that up out of whole cloth, as part of their anti-Bush agenda.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I don't get any of my news from networks.

I read my local paper, the NY Times, the WaPo, the Air Force Times, the Boston Globe, a host of international papers, and the white papers from think tanks.

Anyone relying on the media as their sole source of news is rowing with one oar.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Carl-- There's no evidence either way. But liberals are happy to smear without it.

Blue Girl-- So, you don't watch Fox News but are criticizing it anyway?

Posted by: American Hawk on March 7, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Vietnam-era veteran

insert Al snicker here...
yes, in the era of Vietnam, W was thousands of miles away from the action pushing to get out of the TANG with the help of daddy.

Posted by: ckelly on March 7, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm certainly not always in support of the goals blogosphere activists assume, but getting Democratic candidates to shun a Fox debate seems a very good one.

The point is not whether Democrats might reach more people if they go on Fox. The point is rather to press the clear message that Fox is a propoganda arm of the GOP, NOT a legitimate news organization.

Given the immense mileage the GOP has received by pretending that the media is strongly biased against them, and that Fox is, in contrast, "fair and balanced", the Democratic Party can and must fight back.

This is how it's done.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 7, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Did I say that I don't watch? No I did not - I said I don't rely on the networks to inform me. I keep my friends close and my enemies closer, and I want to know what those feckless cowards are up to.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl-- So, you don't watch Fox News but are criticizing it anyway?

And I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh - what's your point?

Posted by: ckelly on March 7, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Hawk. I watch Fox News with inexplicable regularity and, as far as news goes, it's a joke.

A fascinating experience in media propagandizing that journalism students will be studying for decades afterwards, yes. But no one short of a right wing political partisan could claim that Fox News represents anything approximating objectivity in their news coverage.

Posted by: David on March 7, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Don't expect HRC to pull out from the debate -- Murdoch supported her in the Senate bid.

(Which should be enough reason for any sane person to not support her for POTUS.)

Posted by: Disputo on March 7, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk- Blue Girl, Red State said that she did not get her news from Fox, she did not say that she didn't watch it. I watch it occassionally, but mainly to evaluate the spin.

As for liberal or conservative bias- networks are in the business of making money- that is all. They will do whatever they think most benefits their bottom line.

Posted by: Out on Bond on March 7, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hold the hill, guys - I gotta go to class. Back in a couple of hours.

Spring Break starts in 22 1/2 hours...Not that I'm counting or anything.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 7, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is exactly what Democratic politicians should do. In fact, the entire Democratic party, and (God willing) the next Democratic president should refuse to engage Fox News in any form. You're not going to change the basic Republican leaning conservative messaging, you can't. But you can completely marginalize them by refusing to provide them with any access. And Democrats should.

IMU

Posted by: IMU on March 7, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo,

Didn't HRC indicate earlier that she was not going to back down from any fight- i.e. she would not allow herself to take the drubbing that John Kerry took from the Swift-boaters- consequently, I do not think that she can, or will, back down.

Posted by: Out on Bond on March 7, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

MAYBE now a certain political vegetable will wake-the-fuck-up-a-bit and pay less attention to those dribbling drooling imbeciles over there in The Corner and a little more attention to all the wit and wisdom on the good ship Snarkosphere.

Maybe...of course he could also continue his present course and rapidly crystalize into a political mineral.

Posted by: professor rat on March 7, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to reach Fox's audience like Republicans need to reach DailyKos's audience.

Posted by: gfn on March 7, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Edwards didn't want anyone asking him about the 28,000 square foot house he has built or the beach house he owns or the fact that he is a millionaire who hypocritically talks about the "Two Americas." Or they might call him a "trial lawyer" and ask him if he thinks that some of the cases he has won increased the cost of health care across the country.

If the liberal ideas will stand up to scrutiny then they shouldn't have any problem going on to a channel they think is on the opposite side of the spectrum. However, when the liberal candidates are all flash and no go then any damage to their facade means their downfall.

They need a "Tightly scripted" debate to keep them from having to think too much. So some areas are off limits to asking Democrat candidates? Oh, I see. People are worried that FOX might ask about the homosexual children or relatives of the candidates. Yeah, wouldn't want them to mention inappropriate topics.

FOX news must really be good if the complaining here is an indication of their power.

Posted by: Orwell on March 7, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The debate is for the Democratic primary. Democratic primary voters don't watch Fox News. Even if it were for the general, the Fox News audience, taken as a share of voters as a whole, is small, and most of them will reflexively vote Republican anyway.

And Fox has a track record: their conduct the last time Democrats allowed them to host a debate makes it clear that they should not be given another chance. No matter how many conditions you negotiate, you still have the fact that the debate would be run by people who hate Democrats.

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 7, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Fox is a News channel.

For sufficiently broad definitions of "News".

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on March 7, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

mhr-

Honest question- where is the balance on Fox News? ( I am not saying that there is a balance on this blog) But, really, where on Fox does the left get spin time?

Posted by: Out on Bond on March 7, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

If Richardson, Obama and Edwards don't do the Fox debate, will Hillary Rodham Clinton appear on a stage with Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel?

If she does, she deserves what she gets. Those guys will be looking to bolster their credibility by taking her down.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Mr. Buck. Why are Democrats in Nevada allowing Fox to host their state primary debate? It is a party malfunction and indicative, to me, of the Democrats compromise with established institutional ideals.

Democrats need to reach Fox's audience like Republicans need to reach Daily Worker's audience.

Fox is so extremely politically biased and privy to the White Houses's propaganda themes that it should properly be considered as an analogue to Izvestia or Pravda or the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by: Brojo on March 7, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I love FOX News.

They have intro music before each report so you can foretell if the central character is a good guy or a bad guy. They have a whole bunch of funny adjectives for Democrats and Liberals you can't find anywhere else. And my favorite part is that "whoosh" sound effect when the Special Report graphic flys past the screen.

Also, FOX does pay attention to local market demographics. Here in liberal Minneapolis, they aren't nearly as blatantly pro-Republican as they are just 300 miles northwest in solidly conservative North Dakota.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on March 7, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As AmericanHawk's delusional comments on this thread show, there is nothing to be gained from posting our Democratic primary on a Republican disinformation propaganda network. Whatever terms are negotiated will not matter. You will still have conservative propagandists like Brit Hume, Fred Barnes and the like asking the questions and "analyzing" the debate afterwards.

Ask yourself this, what is more likely:

A potential voter watches this debate on Fox News that wouldn't have seen it otherwise (all other stations are liberal), sees through the pre and post-debate GOP spin and sides with the Democrats

OR

A swing voter watches this debate, complete with (mis)leading questions and the pre/post-debate GOP spin and comes out with a more negative perception of the democratic candidates than that voter had prior to the debate.

Posted by: JM on March 7, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Not Special Report -- I mean Breaking News. Dontcha love that "whoooosh" -?


(whoooooosh!)

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on March 7, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

AH: The administration said there were some contacts between Iraq and AQ, which was true. Find me the quote where they said Iraq was responsible for 9/11 or "played an important role".

I'm curious - what's your explanation for the fact that in 2004, 69% of polled Americans thought that Iraq and 9/11 were related, and about half of that number actually thought that Saddam Hussein himself planned out the attacks? What's your explanation for millions of people thinking precisely what you're saying the Bush administration never tried to convince people of (even though it was completely in their interests to do so)?

Magic?

Look, anyone who can watch Fox (as I'm in the unfortunate position of doing from time to time) and not immediately realize that it's obvious, blatant GOP propoganda simply doesn't know what propoganda actually is. Or is so completely moronic that they'd believe the earth was flat if the TeeVee told them so. Or is so morally bankrupt that they don't care if someone's lying to them, so long as they agree with what they're saying.

Posted by: DH Walker on March 7, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why in the world would the Democrats put primary debates on a channel Democrats won't watch? The whole idea is insane.

Edwards is exactly right to refuse to take part in such a screwed up process.

Posted by: serial catowner on March 7, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

No idea what this thread is about, just wanted to say I was on this flight.

Man Gets Caught By Airport Screening With Magnet up Bum.

Posted by: Red State Mike on March 7, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Rupert himself has admitted he intended FOX News to be an alternative to what he saw as liberal-leaning maintstream TV news. The man is no dummy, he saw the growing conservative shift in the mid 90's, and fed into (or off of) it.

Overall, FOX Broadcasting doesn't necesarily follow that concept. Nobody offers racier, sexier, more voyeuristic programming than FOX. And there again, Murdoch knows his audience well. Red state America is all too anxious to race home from church, draw the shades and watch "Trading Spouses" all evening.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on March 7, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK
"...After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents."

This would be true if THE DEMOCRATIC MESSAGE WOULD NOT BE FILTERED, DISTORTED OR MANGLED by Fox's propaganda machine. Not only should the Nevada event be cancelled, but Fox should be banned from the national Democratic Convention.

We have to stop "making nice".

Posted by: Stoic on March 7, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Good point, why would Democrats try to court American Hawk?

In high school I had a teacher with a saying on the wall, "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig."

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on March 7, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: "Blue Girl-- So, you don't watch Fox News but are criticizing it anyway?"

Excellent point.

One question, though. You don't engage in hot & sweaty man-on-man sex, but you criticize it anyway? What's up with that?

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on March 7, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

A little bit of an over reaction. I would have been happy if they just relaxed the disney themed dress code. The original plan was just bizarre: Hillary as snow white, Obama as the prince, Bill Richardson as grumpy, Kuciinich as dopey, Edwards as happy, etc.

Posted by: B on March 7, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

One question, though. You don't engage in hot & sweaty man-on-man sex, but you criticize it anyway? What's up with that?

Let us not confuse virtue with lack of opportunity....

Posted by: Cato the Elder on March 7, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

When Fox had Kerry and Bush, I remember a shot where the camera dollied in from an aisle and there was big close-up of a rigidly extended middle finger. Right back atcha Fox!

Posted by: Dixie Myers on March 7, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

(My apologies to my friends who do engage in hot & sweaty man-on-man sex. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that there is some sort of equivalence between you & Fox News.)

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on March 7, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I always like it when you come up with one of these posts, because I'm guaranteed of seeing people tee off on you in the comments. That can be amusing. Yet today you're getting off pretty easy, thanks in part to your house trolls distracting from the post at hand.

Kev, baby, look. You cannot reach a Fox viewer with a Democratic message. Such a person is not ever going to vote for a Democrat unless Strom Thurmond 1948 steps out of a time machine. I've heard of being a centrist, my man, but this is just being a sucker. Tightly negotiated requirements? The point is that hosting a debate gives Fox the cover it needs to pimp itself as a legit news outlet. And you can't negotiate cred. To say nothing of Fred Barnes going on for hours afterwards and reluctantly conceding that Kucinich is the only Dem who can win. Yeah, that's an honestly given opinion.

The Dems don't need to reach Fox viewers. The Dems cannot reach Fox viewers and shouldn't try except with a long, preferably electrified prod. But they can reach the overwhelming numbers of Americans who watch every other channel. The party might concentrate its efforts there.

Posted by: KC45s on March 7, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Out on Bond, you asked:

"Honest question- where is the balance on Fox News? ( I am not saying that there is a balance on this blog) But, really, where on Fox does the left get spin time?"

There are two answers to this. But first, it would be silly not to accept right off the bat that FNC's news analysis programs are more conservative than those on other shows (i.e. O'Reilly versus Olberman). But those are news analysis programs, not the news itself.

So first, I would say that FNC's news broadcast (that would be Shep Smith's 7:00 broadcast primarily) is certainly comparable to other cable news broadcasts. In fact, I find FNC allows its journalists more air time and spends less time on in-house analysts than does say CNN or MSNBC (remember, I'm talking about their news broadcasts here). There is not Bill Schneider or someone like that 'explaining' what it all means to the audience.

Second, I would suggest that FNC's panels (both on special report and on Fox News Sunday) are far more balances than those of the other talk shows. Yes, on Brit's show he tilts the balance to conservatives but then again I would say the hosts of the other talks shows tip the balance the other way meaning they all have their biases.

Posted by: Hacksaw on March 7, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

LMAO that a wingnut like Hacksaw cannot even make up a plausible answer to "Out of Bond"'s question.

Posted by: Disputo on March 7, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

KC45s states the obvious. Why is the Dem establishment so unable to understand the nature of the conservative propaganda machine and the conservative audience that it feeds? Dick Cheney understands message control but the Dems seem to think there is something inevitable about conservative hegemony. It is a mistake conservatives don't make.

Posted by: bellumregio on March 7, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK
(After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.)

Any of Fox News' audience that are reachable are reachable through media other than Fox News.

Giving Fox News a debate means that more of the audience for the debate will continue to watch the Fox News spin—or, as they'll call it, "analysis"—after the debate. Since its pretty clear that post-debate media spin has a huge influence on how political debates are perceived, why hand Fox News spinsters a leg up?

Posted by: cmdicely on March 7, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

RSM,

What kind of lube did you use?

Posted by: Disputo on March 7, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I've spent time in swing states over the last couple election cycles and there are a lot of reachable voters who watch Fox News.

I think Edwards opted out because his campaign is desparate. He's doing poorly in the polls and can't get any traction because of BO and HRC.

Posted by: gq on March 7, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Any of Fox News' audience that are reachable are reachable through media other than Fox News.

This is the only thing that matters about this whole issue.

Democrats did not NEED to reach out to Fox News and its audience. What audience that is receptive would be willing to watch the debate on another outlet. Those who aren't receptive, those who watch JUST Fox News for the majority of their news and information, would likely never vote Democratic anyways.

All this does is allow Fox to frame the debate and paint it in a decidedly ugly light. This is a stupid move, and I commend Edwards for boycotting it.

Posted by: Kryptik on March 7, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

...the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.

This is just B.S. This is a primary election where the Dems choose their candidate. For this we don't want or need to have Repubs and Indys in on the deal - and most states don't have open primaries so that they could vote.

The Fox demo is increasingly older conservatives who will never vote for a Dem. in the general election.

And, most importantly, Fox is a propaganda outlet for BushCo, and the Dems should do nothing to give them credibility.

I'd go further and suggest that no Dem. figure appear live on their shows. They need to be brought down or diminished in importance, not reinforced in any way.

Yesterday, Fox News's Brit Hume show had the legend running at the bottom that said: "Scooter Libby found not guilty of lying to FBI investigators". Fair and Balanced? Unfair and unbalanced is more like it. Garbage from Rove is on target describing them.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on March 7, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

It really is awful that FNC doesn't favor the liberal/Democratic view the way a good news outlet should.

Posted by: Brian on March 7, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

A debate on Fox would only serve to enable them.
They could then spout off ad nauseum about how "balanced and fair" they are with lines like...
"You can't criticize us!We held the democratic debates right here!"

I can just see it now.

Posted by: Albert on March 7, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

My preference would be to keep the Fox out of the henhouse -- and, for that matter, out of all houses.

Posted by: aj on March 7, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

It is said that even a mediocre prosecutor can indict a rock if s/he wants to. The threshold is relatively low. But getting a conviction is another thing altogether.

I suspect that Fitzgerald could have indicted one or more people for leaking the info on Plame. But I suspect that he also realized that getting a conviction on that count would be nearly impossible given the burden to prove knowledge and intent on the part of the leaker.

He was also prudent enough to realize that one should not go around indicting White House staff willy-nilly, and if he didn't have a rock solid case that it was the better part of valor not to indict for the underlying crime.

I guess the point is this: Just because Ken Starr's investigation went amok and leaked like a partisan sieve, that doesn't mean Fitzgeral should have followed suit. Fitzgerald ran the show like it should be run, from what I can tell, and used his prosecutorial discretion prudently.

Just because I'd like to see Cheney and Rove doin the perp walk doesn't mean that Fitzgerald should be criticized.

Posted by: JRP on March 7, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents."

Not by ndering to FOX News' wackadoodle audience, they don't.

And the Nevada Democratic Party leadership was pandering when they made this decision.

So were the Beltway Democrats when they allowed independent Joe Lieberman -- who's given the Bush Administration a free pass on their post-Katrina f*ck-ups -- to give their Saturday radio remarks about holding accountable those responsible for the Walter Reed abomination.

Such pandering is an indication of self-loathing, and is inherently weak and undignified. The Democratic grassroots and netroots base gets this -- why can't the party's well-compensated "leadership"?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 7, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK
Yesterday, Fox News's Brit Hume show had the legend running at the bottom that said: "Scooter Libby found not guilty of lying to FBI investigators".


And if you take a look at the screen shot you'll see that "Scooter Libby found not guilty" on one line and "of lying to FBI investigator" on the next line.

That way they can mislead their viewers into thinking Scooter Libby got off scott-free and still be able to whine that the headline was technically correct.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 7, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kev --I'd like to push the envelope here. NOT ONLY should Democratic candidates NOT appear on a campaign debate hosted by Fox, every Democratic candidate should boycott Fox completely -- no appearances, no live shots, nothing.

Why? Because Fox News is the propaganda wing of the Republic Party. When a Democrat appears on Fox News -- no matter what the circumstance -- he is sending a message -- "I'M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW THESE FOLKS ARE OUT TO DO ME IN." They lend support to the (bogus) idea that Fox is a legitimate news network. They need to send the message, "I won't be mugged by partisan right-wing hacks like Brit Hume."

Posted by: planetniner on March 7, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't listen to Fox News; I mute it. But I sure enjoy watching. The Fox News gals on camera win hands down for the shortest skirts, I kid you not. And don't tell me you haven't noticed.

Posted by: sylvester on March 7, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Not by pandering ..." My bad.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 7, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I watched Fox News once. I really miss that TV. Didn't do my shoe much either.

Posted by: bigcat on March 7, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

In 2008, Fox will run the following story to increase their ratings.

___THIS JUST IN (tick tick tick). We have only moments ago learned that the background radiation levels in many parts of Iraq exceed ---ppm. Scores of Iraqi babies are deformed and it's feared that the gene pool of many in that desert land are drastically damaged. Damaged for generations. STAY
TUNED as we bring you more details on this breaking story.


The irony is that the blogsphere KNOWS we have seriously poisoned Iraq.

Forget the killings and maimings by explosives, it's the genetic assault that is the real crime.

But most people choose to ignore this.

I'll vote for a politician who has the spine to outFOX us all with this story.

I'm afraid that radicals will become so mentally altered that they will strive to spew similar radioactive poisons somewhere in the US (besides in our bombing ranges).

We are being scared by global warming. What about
the efects of DU? It's our gene pool that is precious, human-caused genetic mutations hurt us all.

The only way to get messages across to the US public is to strive for in-depth, truthful reporting. Not AIPACized schlock.

Go blogs for truth, justice, and (sadly to say) the American Way.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on March 7, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: I, for one, signed a petition and sent out a number of emails....

So did I. And I agree with Carl Nyberg's and many other like-minded comments.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 7, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Any of Fox News' audience that are reachable are reachable through media other than Fox News.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 7, 2007 at 4:07 PM

Absolutely. No one who regularly watches Fox "News" as a source of information and opinion is going to listen with an open mind to anything the Democrats have to say. Ever. Those are the people who honestly believe that FN is "balanced", even in their "non-news" commentary and that they give equal opportunity for liberals on those shows, and that the mainstream media is dangerously "liberal". In other words, their heads are more tightly plugged up their butts than a cork in a bottle.

Posted by: Gummitch on March 7, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

It really is awful that FNC doesn't favor the liberal/Democratic view the way a good news outlet should.

I think I speak for many here when I say we'll settle for it not being an overt GOP mouthpiece.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems boycott the Fox organized debates, it's their loss. They will forego the reward of being in the company of great and brilliant minds like Hannity and Gibson.

Posted by: gregor on March 7, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, it would be nice to reach to some of Fox News viewers - a few of them no doubt can be persuaded by intelligent, rational debate and discussion.

But we all know that's not what will happen in a Fox News hosted debate. The debate will be sandwiched by anti-Democratic propaganda. In fact, what will happen is that we will be exposing Democratic Primary voters to Fox News - and they're experts at telling the kinds of lies that take root. The whole point (for Fox) of hosting the debate is that - to turn Democratic voters off to their candidates.

I'd rather have the Democratic debate hosted by the RNC, so at least it wouldn't have the veneer of partisanship.

Posted by: Fides on March 7, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Don't blame the state party for the decision. Its Harry Reid's doing. The state party folks just have to try and make it work somehow.

Posted by: me on March 7, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13 : Tom Collins, the head of NVDems and DINO, is retiring and Edward has withdrawn from the debate. I understand Obama is seriously considering pulling out. It's always bad to let dishonest partisans like these FoxNoise people frame the questions.

... FNC doesn't favor the liberal/Democratic view ...Brian at 4:34 PM

No, I don't care who funds Fox or what they do, the Democratic candidates should not validate this propaganda network nor put themselves in a position in which Fox people can put leading and/or loaded questions to them in front of viewers who may not understand or appreciate the distorted framing. Partisan neutral is the best forum for debates. The candidates have their own agenda, they don't need to have another superimposed on the discussion.

Posted by: Mike on March 7, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

You're being naive.

The only reason they want to sponsor this is to carry out the neocon agenda.

I recently blogged on this at dailykos. I analyzed the questions they asked the major Democratic candidates when they held one of these in 2003. The fourth question for all of them was just malicious gossip. But the first three showed that they weren't simply smearing the candidates equally, but had decided who they wanted to take down.

Not surprisingly, all of Lieberman's questions were designed to show him off. Both Kerry and Edwards had one tough question, but their other two questions were designed to show them well.

Dean and Clark each got one boring domestic policy question on the economy and two foreign policy "questions" that were all just about making them defend their integrity --- those were the two they wanted to be taken down.

I remember the talking heads afterwards saying Clark had performed poorly because he hadn't said enough about domestic policy. Like he'd been given a chance.

Fox only wants to be part of this if there is something in it for them. Let's not give that to them.

Posted by: catherineD on March 7, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards has begun invoking the name of Jesus to defend his leftwing redistributionist views

Aptly so, because Jesus taught some "leftwing redistributionist views."

Thanks for copping to the hypocrisy of the Republican Religious Right, though, mhr.

Posted by: Gregory on March 7, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

****ABC is the network that brought us the fictionalized, jingoistic 9/11 docudrama. ABC owns Disney, and just google 'Disney' and Spocko's Brain' to verify just how liberal they are.***

Seriously, is every liberal incapable of independent thought? Don't any of you spout something other than the party line? Cripes, Disney has long leaned left (which is fine, and their prerogative).

Apparently, if it's not b@#$hit crazy then it can't be considered 'liberal'. Reckon that's why no one wants to be known as a 'liberal' anymore? Nah, that's gotta be the right's fault, as well.

Such deep thinkers.....

Posted by: RW on March 7, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats should never have anything to do with Fox "News". They are not interested in the best interests of the Democratic Party and will do whatever they can to subvert it. There is nothing at all that can be possibly gained here. John Edwards has this absolutely correct. It is so obvious that it shouldn't need to be said.

One of the comments above suggested a total boycott, even of interviews or appearances for any purpose whatsoever. That is not irrational.

Posted by: Ba'al on March 7, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I watch Fox News to find out what propaganda the right wing is spreading for the day. I am also one of those who signed the petition & sent emails to stop a dumb move on the part of the Democratic Party, most of whom obviously do not watch Fox News. Sounds like we woke them up

I'm a moderate independent who cannot call any party home. But at least the Dems offer an alternative to what we have seen for the last 6 years. Enough is enough.

Posted by: bob in fl on March 7, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Mike on March 7, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Good info, Mike. Thanks.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 7, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

NEWS FLASH - the far left is not going to increase in size, anymore than the far right. What is left is the center, like it or not, and the slow tectonic shifts to one side of the dividing line or the other. Democrats win by peeling away Republicans, just like Reagan won by peeling away Democrats.

FOX news is the TV channel of choice in many places where the viewers are not allowed to pick which channel to watch, like auto repair joints, bars, and military bases. You can argue about FOX being a rotten channel all you want. The fact is that they will be broadcasting Democrats into these places. And, in more than a few of these places, there will be people like myself who have been Republicans most of their lives, but who are really revolted by what has happened to their party, and they will listen to what the candidates have to say.

Yes, most will remain set in their political rut, but some will have that epiphany and say "These folks aren't so bad." And their next trip to the polling booth will have a different result.

So, look at this as a way to muscle in on FOX's otherwise locked down market. If you can get your people to monopolize X many hours of FOX's broadcast, go for it.

Posted by: fercryinoutloud on March 7, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

It would be foolish to suggest that Dems would do better reaching out to the center on foxnews, a medium which is active and unapologetic propaganda for the other side, than ... say network channels.

and no one is stuck with simply watching fox ... everyone has options beyond a channel which actively makes its watchers stupider.

Posted by: Nads on March 8, 2007 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

I had read this,Fighting back is dealing with some new and interesting suggestions regarding defence and survive.To view the more interesting details on fighting click on knife

fighting

Posted by: Ralph Charlton on March 8, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

sylvester: "The Fox News gals on camera win hands down for the shortest skirts, I kid you not. And don't tell me you haven't noticed."

You sound very lonely.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 8, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

I was exposed to Fox "news" for about a half hour one morning until I felt myself getting stupid. Then I turned off the TV.
It was nothing but cheerleading mr. 30% over and over.
I know I insulted the guest who asked me if he could watch it, but I didn't care.
I finally screamed "Jesus Christ, how fucking stupid do you have to be to watch this shit"! And then told the man if he wanted to watch that crap to go to his hotel room.
I am a hotel night auditor in case you're wondering.

Posted by: merlallen on March 8, 2007 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're outta your friggin mind to prefer keeping the debate on FOX. Really.

Posted by: ww on March 8, 2007 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

(After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.)

No, it doesn't. Fox's audience is hard right-wing dead-enders, and we really don't need to reach them, just as the GOP doesn't need to advertise in Mother Jones and The Advocate. There are certain people who are simply unreachable, and targeting them is simply a waste of limited time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Posted by: Stefan on March 8, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You need to read Digby on this subject.

Last time, the dem debate on fox served as a background for Republican talking points in the commentary, reinforcing the republican message over and over again.

It started like this and just gets worse:

----------------------------
Fred, impressions first. Any winners tonight?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Not really. Maybe Al Sharpton. It makes a difference when Sharpton's there. It was much livelier debate, as a result. That's for sure. He wasn't there in New Mexico last week, although Lieberman was livelier tonight than he's been before and so on.

So, it was a zippier debate but, I think, uneventful in the outcome of the Democratic presidential fight.

I think Democrats have one problem in these debates and that is they talk about an America, they criticize what's going on and they create a picture of an America that I think most people don't recognize, you know. It's an America where the Patriot Act is creating a police state and where, as Al Sharpton said, soldiers come home and they can't get an education, they can't get a house, you know. They can't get a job or anything like that.

You know, there's this health care crisis that is ruining the country and we're involved in another Vietnam. And people in Florida are denied the right to vote. I don't think most Americans recognize that as the real America.

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ROLL CALL": Obviously, they are not appealing to the whole of America. What they are trying to do is to appeal to the Democratic primary voter. And the way that you appeal most to Democratic primary voters is to beat up on George Bush.

I mean, practically anytime anybody asked a substantive question they had a little bit of an answer about what they would do, you know, on the subject, but the rest of it was an attack on what George Bush has not done or failed to do or lied about or et cetera, et cetera.

And it's because the Democratic primary core voters are so enraged at George Bush that they have to -- you know, they have to feed that beast.

And the most -- the best example of this is Joe Lieberman, who's probably the most moderate of them all and constantly is waving the bloody shirt of Florida, you know, that black voters were disenfranchised, were prevented from going to the polls in Florida, et cetera, et cetera. It's replaying the sore of the 2000 election.

So, you know, that's what this is all about. This was not an attempt to appeal to the average voter.

Posted by: jayackroyd on March 8, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to re-phrase Kevin's comment.
"After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's shrinking audience too, not just liberals and independents."

Newscorpse

I think the fact that it's a shrinking audience makes it even clearer that Democrats don't need to reach them by offering themselves up for abuse.

Posted by: cowalker on March 8, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

And it doesn't matter. Edwards is already out. I'd be shocked to see Obama stay in, and if he's out there's no reason for Clinton to show up.

But it does say something about the growing power of the netroots. It helps, of course, that this was an idiotic idea--so idiotic that nobody will admit to having made the decision.

Posted by: jayackroyd on March 8, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Why is the Dem establishment so unable to understand the nature of the conservative propaganda machine and the conservative audience that it feeds?

The Democratic establishment has the same goals as the Republican establishment, which is to enrich their corporate benefactors. That is why the US will not be leaving Iraq, banks can screw debtors, corporations are given rights denied to individuals, etc.

Posted by: Brojo on March 8, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Whether or not Democrats might reach an occasional swingable voter by showing up for a Fox debate basically misses the point.

What is the big picture here? The legitimacy of Fox as a news organization. In fact, anything that Democrats can do to suggest that Fox is profoundly skewed in its presentation of the news is a major step in tearing down the apparatus of the right wing smear machine.

Liberal bloggers and activists have of course decried Fox News for some time. But their criticisms are easy to dismiss by the public as arising from extreme partisan bias. But a major Democratic Presidential candidate is someone of considerable political standing and responsibility. When such a person shuns Fox as incorrigibly biased, the legitimacy of the candidate deeply undermines the legitimacy of the news organization. Indeed, it is all the more telling precisely because it is so rare for a candidate to refuse an opportunity to reach more potential voters. People understand implicitly that such a refusal is a major negative statement about Fox News.

In the larger scheme of things, sowing serious doubts about Fox News is of far greater consequence than any miniscule number of voters a candidate might persuade by appearing in a debate.

I'd think that all Democrats would agree that beating down the influence of Fox News will be a very positive thing come the general election of 2008 and beyond.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 8, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

*****But a major Democratic Presidential candidate is someone of considerable political standing and responsibility. *****


Yeah, Jesus told him so. Just ask him.

Now, if only some of you brainiacs would stop enhancing the influence of some of the red states by staying there & increasing the crime & welfare necessities...how's about following your own advice & hauling a$$ to mommy in that case, too?

Posted by: RW on March 8, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fox is Pravda. No Democrat should appear on it.

Posted by: Touchdown on March 8, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

..."though my own preference would be to keep the debate on Fox with some tightly negotiated requirements for how they run the thing. (After all, the party has a point when it says that Democrats need to reach Fox's audience too, not just liberals and independents.) "

Dear Kevin and Nevada Dems: NO WE DON'T.
1. it's a waste of time
2. it's a waste of resources
3. it's a waste of time and resources

searching for Democratic votes on Fox News is like fishing for trout on the moon (hint: there ain't no trout there)

"tightly negotiated requirements" oh my goodness, what big naiveté you have Kevin. I imagine you've got a storage unit full of magic beans.

Posted by: steve on March 9, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Order Generic drugs Buy Generic drugs without prescription

Order prescription drugs Buy prescription drugs without prescription

Posted by: online on March 11, 2007 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly