Friday, March 09, 2007

Nevada Democrats Drop Fox News From Presidential Debate

It's always nice when the bad guys do themselves in and that's what's happened with Fox News losing their deal to televise and run Nevada's Democratic presidential debate in August due to comments made by Fox President Roger Ailes at the annual Radio and Television News Directors Association dinner on Thursday.

Among other things, Ailes said this about Senator Barack Obama: "It is true, Barack Obama is on the move. I don’t know that it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said 'why can't we catch this guy?'"

Here's the video:

This was evidently the straw that broke the camel's back for the Nevada Democratic Party, who had been getting hounded by Democrats since this was announced for allowing a debate of Democratic presidential candidates to be sponsored by what is effectively the media arm for the Republican National Committee.

Here's the letter that went out on Friday from Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman Tom Collins to Marty Ryan, the executive producer of Fox News' political programming:
A month ago, the Nevada Democratic Party entered into a good faith agreement
with FOX News to co-sponsor a presidential debate in August. This was done because the Nevada Democratic Party is reaching out to new voters and we strongly believe that a Democrat will not win Nevada unless we find new ways to talk to new people.

To say the least, this was not a popular decision. But it is one that the Democratic Party stood by. However, comments made last night by FOX News President Roger Ailes in reference to one of our presidential candidates went too far. We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments.

In light of his comments, we have concluded that it is not possible to hold a Presidential debate that will focus on our candidates and are therefore canceling our August debate. We take no pleasure in this, but it is the only course of action.
While the Nevada Democratic Party should never have even signed up for such a thing with Fox -- and implied that they are even remotely a real news organization -- this decision is better late than never and we should applaud this move. More importantly, it drives an early stake in the ground for the 2008 election season that should be a precedent-setting statement that we don't work with right-wing liars pretending to be journalists.

And that's a great way to start our weekend.