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No Fox Debate in Nevada

March 10th, 2007

This was really a no-brainer from the start, and why Nevada Democrats ever agreed to a Fox News-sponsored debate in the first place is beyond comprehension. After all, can you imagine Republicans agreeing to put McCain, Giuliani and Romney in a debate hosted by Air America and featuring Al Franken, Randy Rhodes, and Jesse Jackson? Even if Ann Coulter were thrown in as a token conservative? Somehow I don’t think so.

Fox attempted to sidetrack the boycott by offering to “co-host” with an Air America affiliate, but it was soon made clear that they would still control the debate, with a panel of Fox personalities joined by a single Air America questioner. The format would be clear: Fox would make their best attempt to focus the “debate” on smears of the candidates, try to pit them against each other with accusations and dirt, and then wind up the farce by having a post-debate show talking about how stupid and lame all the candidates were. Yeah, Democrats should be happy to participate in that, and boycotting it was a real blow to “balanced” reporting, proving that a Democrat should not be elected because they’re all “afraid of journalists,” “only appear on those networks and venues that give them favorable coverage,” as Ailes put it. Which, of course, describes the Bush administration to a tee.

But when Nevada Democrats somehow agreed to such a bargain, they were immediately castigated by the bloggers and others as having made a huge blunder–and because it would look bad if they suddenly retreated under such criticism, they had to wait for some other excuse to back out of the debate. And Fox News being what it is, they didn’t have to wait long before they got their excuse. It came in the form of Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, making jokes which compared Barrack Obama and Osama bin Laden.

Ailes’ remarks are particularly interesting because he had just scolded Democrats for the rumored boycott of the debates, saying among other things, “We’re headed into covering a tough political season, and all of us will be called upon to do our best and be fair.”

And then just hours later, he said, “It is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don’t know if it’s true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, ‘Why can’t we catch this guy?'”

Not that this was the first such biased comment by Ailes or the most outrageous. And yet, somehow he sees this as being “fair.”

I’d hate to see what his idea of “biased” is.

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