Democrats Deal With Fox News
There’s merit in that argument: No party can survive by talking only to people who agree with it. But Fox critics, led by the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, insisted the price for that access was too high and argued that it was self-destructive for Democrats to legitimize Fox in any way.
That argument struck a much more powerful chord than the Nevada Democrats expected, not only with the compulsive petition-signers online, but also with pillars of the Democratic political establishment. Many Democratic professionals believe that Fox will continue to provide an uncritical platform for almost any charge the right can dredge (Drudge?) up against the 2008 Democratic contenders.
Mark Mellman, the pollster for Kerry in 2004, passionately supported the decision to cancel the debate. “Everything Fox does is directed toward aiding and abetting the Republican Party, and it uses its newsgathering organization more or less as a cover for that,” he said.
A senior advisor to one of the 2008 Democratic contenders was equally emphatic. “I think the more they can be de-legitimized the better,” the advisor said. “They are in business to promote the Republican Party and to hurt the Democratic Party, and they have every right to do that, but to the extent that their pretense of objectivity can be challenged, it should be.”
On more than one occasion, I worked with Fox News producers and reporters. Once, in Herat, I saw one of the Foxholes approached by a couple of soldiers. One of the soldiers said he was glad they could finally talk to a “conservative” reporter. The reporter laughed and said, “Someone’s got to balance out the liberals.” But, later, I ran into that same reporter in Bagram. He wanted an interview with some soldiers and, when I grabbed one at random to ask if he wanted to talk to Fox News, the soldier–an Army captain–said he didn’t, because, as a Democrat, he wasn’t a fan of the network’s politics. The reporter, shaken up, said that was ridiculous. The network had no politics, but only told the truth. “Whatever,” said the captain and walked off. The reporter, after a few beats narrowed his eyes at the soldier’s back and quietly hissed, motherfucker.