Response on Dems and Fox News

Michael at Pushing Rope – a Tampa Bay lefty blogger I enjoy reading – has responded to my post on why I thought the Democrats missed the boat with the Fox News boycott.

He writes:

It’s easy to imagine Fox News throwing Sean Hannity in, at the last minute, to moderate the debate.

Well, he is right about that. A Democratic debate moderated by Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reily would not be good for democracy. It would be like Chris Matthews moderating a Republican debate on PMSNBC. Oh. Wait. Um…

Moving on, Michael adds:

Johnson misses the point. It’s not reaching out to Republicans that the netroots is worried about. (Although, that isn’t the goal.) It’s that Fox News is the RNC PR machine. It is not in the network’s interest to have a “fair and balanced” debate.

I understand his perspective, and he has a very valid point. Fox News is often the mouthpiece for Republicans and the White House. Part of the reason is because other media outlets aren’t as willing to disseminate the information, and a larger part is that Republicans use Fox News to “preach to the choir” so to speak.

Yeah. He’s right. Can’t argue that point.

But, I ask. So what?

What prompted my original post was a review of the Fox News GOP Debate on CNN’s Reliable Sources. Here is the transcript of a portion from that show involving CNN’s Howard Kurtz as host, “David Frum, columnist for National Review Online, and a former speech writer for President Bush; Ryan Lizza, senior editor at The New Republic and a correspondent for GQ magazine; and Gloria Borger, national political correspondent for CBS News and a contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report“:

KURTZ: Let’s face it, a lot of people expected FOX to go easy on Republicans.

Did that happen?

FRUM: I think it was a triumphant night for FOX, and I say this as someone who’s often had doubts about the way they cover politics. But they asked a very — the important thing they did was not that they were tough — anyone can be tough — they were precise.

One of the problems with the first debate was that the 60-second format felt too short for an answer. But that was because…

KURTZ: That was the debate on MSNBC.

FRUM: That’s right. When you ask diffuse, rambling, look — “I’m the journalist, I’m the star, look at me” questions…

KURTZ: Who would you be referring to here?

FRUM: Other questioners — then 60 seconds is too short. But if you say, here is an answer, yes, no? Sixty seconds is plenty of time.

I thought the FOX questioners did a masterful job.

KURTZ: For those who don’t know, Chris Matthews moderated the first Republican debate on MSNBC.

A little difference in the style?

LIZZA: Yes. Look, there is the good FOX and there’s the bad FOX. FOX has a reputation for being intellectually dishonest and a little bit propagandistic for the Republican Party. And with certain commentators, that’s true.

If you had Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly doing this debate, it would be totally different. But they also have a good team of political reporters who are junkies and ask good questions.

BORGER: Well, I think the key to being a good questioner, a good journalist in this kind of program is you have to have well-researched questions. They knew their facts and they threw them out there.

KURTZ: So should the Democrats debate on FOX? They’re basically boycotting FOX.

BORGER: I do not see why the Democrats should not debate on FOX News.

I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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7 Responses to Response on Dems and Fox News

  1. Joel says:

    So as long as the moderator isn’t Hannity or O’Reilly, the Dems should expect things to be fair and balanced?

    I’m not sure if this is a question of good FOX and bad FOX – it’s more like grandstanding FOX and subtle FOX. One way or another, I’m sure the FOX factor would make itself known.

    Whoever ended up being the moderator, I seriously doubt that person would be the sole or even major contributor to the questions asked of each candidate. They’d just be the mouthpiece.

    And all of that does not take into consideration that a majority of the audience, if they bother watching a Dem debate at all, would probably be listening for only what they want to hear.

  2. voxpop says:

    Hey Jim just a headsup I tried to ‘fuel your blog’ and it said that the url was wrong or you were not accepted yet. Now, the reason I am telling you this is because I could swear I fueled your blog the other day and it went just fine. maybe it’s not your site but their server. Just an FYI.

  3. voxpop says:

    Faux SLAMMED smack into their respective corner struggles and flops like a trout.

    Ya get what ya pay for.
    Faux has been begging for this.

  4. Rich says:

    joel, voxpop,

    The very fact that dems will not go on fox will even go further to make the fox watchers, which are conservative and independent, and some moderate democrats, realize that dems dont want real debates, only pandering questions from their side.

    You see, NBC, MSNBC, and CBS are rampantly biased liberally. CNN and ABC are somewhat biased liberally. Any debates on these channels for democrats are liberal slanted questions from liberal anchors to liberal candidates. Its too easy to see through that.

    This is just the same as if republicans chose to have every debate only on fox news. Its just stupid.

    BTW vox, you say fox is slammed, just so you know, their ratings pummel CNN and MSNBC COMBINED… Got it, good.

  5. voxpop says:

    Well, I kinda think that their ratings success is more due to the fact of their ‘lineup’ of kid shows and other ‘popular’ shows before and after and the news just gets left on. But I don’t watch TV so could be wrong. LOL. Also, I was kinda making a joke; you know Faux is upset about this. One other point is that who knows about any polls for rating success. They still have bush hovering in the high twenties. Who trusts polls?
    Oh, and I don’t agree that the other stations are liberal slanted. Katie Couric v John Edwards. She’s NBC.

    Fox is over for this. We want it. Why would Republicans be fighting this so hard if it weren’t so important? (to have slanted debates)

  6. Jim Johnson says:

    Hey Vox…

    Thanks for pointing out the issue with the FMB link… I’ll check that out this weekend.

    And FWIW: Katie is on CBS.

    The other stations are a liberal… You couldn’t say that Olbermann is moderate or conservative, could you? And Chris Matthews worked for Jimmy Carter, Tip O’Neill, and Edmund Muskie – hardly a moderate resume.

    Fox is still “winning” the ratings battle… so this slight isn’t that big of a deal.

    I don’t disagree with those who have a problem with Fox’s coverage… my original point, and what I still believe, is that Democrats should be willing to enter the Lion’s Den…

    Sure a lot of Republicans would watch and go “See? See? They are a bunch of….” But some may also go… “Hmmmm.” And when elections are close, that could be the difference between winning and losing.

  7. voxpop says:

    my bad. i just looked it up to be sure and
    still mistyped it. TY.

    oh, glad you got the fmb heads up I’m never too sure if my comments make it here. Sometimes I get a screen for ‘verification’ and then sometimes the next screen says we refuse your comment and sometimes then the next screen says duplicate.
    Frankly, at this time four years ago I couldn’t have told you what a liberal was: I refuse labeling and labeling others in a life history of disliking same.
    But, it seems to make it easier for other people so, I acquiesce. (mostly)
    My desire, as you know: for faux, nbc, cbs and every station on the entire planet to just DO their respective, proper jobs and give us unbiased news.
    Check their ideologies at the door but we can’t even get THAT from the Attorney General’s office where they are supposedly trained in lack of bias.
    So, I’m asking too much but …. I’m a dreamer for a better world.

    Jim, sorry but what is FWIW?

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