This was originally posted by Chris Bowers at MyDD.com.
In response to the growing disgust over their decision to partner with Fox News to host a Democratic presidential debate, the Nevada Democratic Party issued the following statement last night:
"FOX News' viewership in Western states and across the country does not always get to hear directly from Democrats in an unedited and uninterrupted fashion. The August debate in Reno will allow the Democratic Presidential candidates to speak to the Fox audience who may be hearing from them for the first time for ninety minutes unfiltered and directly."
Unfiltered, huh? Here are some "unfiltered" highlights from the last Fox News debate for Democratic presidential candidates:
[C]onsider the September 9, 2003 Democratic debate in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted by Fox News in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus. Fox News graphics, as well as a banner over the stage, titled the event as the "Democrat Candidate Presidential Debate," a misconstruction of "Democrat" used as an an epithet. Fox News then summarized the debate with a story titled, "Democratic Candidates Offer Grim View of America," continuing with such jabs as, "The depiction of the president as the root of all evil began at the top of Tuesday night's debate...." Controversial questions included the accusation that Howard Dean had a racist gun policy by Fox News analyst Juan Williams. There were also multiple interruptions by protesters throughout the debate, leading to four arrests.
Insulting graphics, biased post-debate spin, loaded questions, conservative protesters--none of that sounds very "unfiltered" to me. Further, how much of the debate will Fox cut off entirely in order to have their in-house pundits offer negative commentary while the Democratic candidates are still speaking? Four years ago, in typically unfiltered fashion, Fox cut away from the Democratic debate they hosted a couple of minutes before it ended, in order to give arch-conservative William Bennett the first shot at post-debate spin. One also has to imagine what new ways Fox News can think of to distort the debate. For example, before it even takes place, it is not hard to imagine promotional ads along the lines of "watch to see which Democrat best remembers his Madrassa training!"
What particularly stuns me about the Nevada Democratic Party's decision here is that they first admit Fox News is biased against Democrats, and then use that as a justification for partnering with Fox News. If you believe, as the response from the Nevada Dems implies, that Fox News does not give Democrats a chance to speak in an "unfiltered" and "direct" fashion, then continuing to do business with them is entirely-self-defeating. All that does is lend Fox News, and their attacks against Democrats, credibility. At least Barack Obama and Howard Dean have both had the good sense to freeze out Fox News after they were smeared by the network. More Democrats should follow their lead, and stop shaking the hand that slaps them.
There are numerous outlets the Nevada Democratic Party could find to broadcast this debate besides Fox News: CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, or even live streaming video over the blogosphere. All of these outlets would provide the Democratic candidates with a much more "unfiltered" and "direct" platform to reach potential voters. Instead of providing Fox News with a means to reach a new audience--Democrats--and thereby stave off its slumping ratings, instead of giving them a golden opportunity to further distort the image of Democratic presidential candidates, and instead of providing them with credibility for all of their past and future attacks against Democrats, it would be best if the Nevada Democratic Party chose a different media partner to broadcast this debate.
In order to fight this, BlogPac has set up an email form that will allow you to contact several leading Nevada Democrats at once. Please, send an email to Nevada Democrats letting them know you oppose having Fox News host a presidential forum.
Tell Democrats to freeze out Fox News today. Remember, while we have provided you with a sample letter, a personalized email and subject header always helps.