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March 26, 2007

Democrats Out-Fox Themselves


It is one thing for “enlightened” college students donning Che Guevara t-shirts to constantly complain about the evils of the Fox News Channel’s distinction as a non-left wing media haven. It is an entirely different issue when institutional Democrats and presidential candidates succumb to the radical forces of their party and refuse to even deal with the largest and most successful cable news network.


As of a few weeks ago, Fox News teamed up with the Nevada State Democratic Party to host a Democratic presidential primary debate in the state. It was certainly a logical agreement to pursue, seeing that Fox News would benefit from the sizeable television audience that such a debate would yield as well as the publicity accompanying it, while at the same time, the Democratic candidates would receive significant exposure on the most-watched cable news network.


As such, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed his excitement about the debate and the partnership with Fox News, saying in a Democratic Party statement, “this is more great news for Nevada… I'm happy Fox News will be a partner for the August presidential debate. Western issues will be a major focus of this debate in particular. With Fox News as our partner, candidates will have an opportunity to not only speak to Nevada voters, but voters across the West who will be instrumental to electing a Democratic president in 2008.”


Yet shortly thereafter, Reid co-signed a letter with Tom Collins, Chairman of the Nevada State Democratic Party, informing Fox News that the Democrats are canceling the debate. What could have possibly happened in the period between the agreement and the cancellation? There was no misunderstanding, no variance over the terms and no change in economic expectations. There was, however, a surrender by institutional Democrats to the extreme groups that have, troublingly, become more mainstream and more influential than ever within the Democratic Party.


Following the announcement of the debate partnership, websites and blogs such as erupted in fury over what was seen as a blasphemous collaboration with the only non-liberal national television news source. With the outrage came a petition signed by over 265,000 leftist foot soldiers calling Fox News an agent of the Republican Party and an illegitimate news source. And certainly, consistent with the increased influence that such groups have been gaining in recent years, the Democrats in charge pulled out of the debate.


Even before the decision of the Nevada State Democratic Party to drop the debate, presidential candidate John Edwards had announced that he would not be part of the debate even if it were held. His reason: The co-sponsorship of Fox News as well as scheduling conflicts. Considering that there is virtually nothing more important to a presidential candidate than such a debate, and certainly nothing that could be planned this far ahead, it was made crystal clear by Edwards that he is so convinced of the wickedness of Fox News that he would not even participate in a debate co-hosted by them alongside a state Democratic Party.


Itching to withdraw yet attempting to maintain a semblance of tolerance, the remaining Democratic establishment, in light of the reaction of the radical wing of their base, needed a justification – any justification – to pull out while simultaneously saving face. The Democrats found that justification in the comments of Fox News President Roger Ailes, who joked one day: “And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called (Pakistani President Pervez) Musharraf and said, ‘Why can't we catch this guy?’”


While this joke was an obvious jab at President Bush, Democrats took the opportunity and ran with it, arguing that the comment degraded Obama. The logical conclusion, to them, was to withdraw from the debate. Not even the fact that Obama himself wasn’t offended by the comments made a difference. The misinterpretation of these comments would be the best opportunity for the Democrats to drop the debate, and they did.


The Democrats think they are hurting Fox News, but in reality, they are only hurting themselves. The country’s conservative voters, and many of its moderates, have been noticing a trend of close-mindedness in liberal thought. It has started in the refusal of elite academia to accept conservative professors, and has progressed to the excoriation of any comment that is even moderately politically incorrect. Now Americans are seeing the Democratic Party even refuse to acknowledge the most popular cable news network as capable of hosting a debate for them, simply because it does not adhere to their ideological inclinations.


For a party that claims to fly the flag of tolerance, this represents hypocrisy at its finest. Even Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has strongly denounced the rest of the Democratic establishment for acting so immaturely. After all, Republicans would never withdraw from a debate hosted by CNN, despite its obvious liberal tendencies. But if the Democrats want to shoot themselves in the foot, let them do it. If such intolerance represents what they have to offer, perhaps they are better off preaching their message to the choir.


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