Netroots Blasted for Debate Debacle

by Sean Hackbarth

The Democrats ditching their August Presidential debate simply because Fox News would carry it set off the Las Vegas Review Journal:

But the socialist, Web-addicted wing of the Democratic Party was apoplectic. The prospect of having to watch Fox News to see their own candidates would have been torture in itself. So they set the blogosphere aflame with efforts to kill the broadcast arrangement, or at least have all the candidates pull out of the event. Before Friday, the opportunistic John Edwards was the only candidate to jump on that bandwagon.

You’d think the deal called for having Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter mock the candidates between comments. No, even unfiltered, unedited, live debate between loyal Democrats couldn’t be entrusted to Fox News.

The approach of outfits such as is so juvenile it’s laughable. Imagine if every political organization created litmus tests for news organizations before agreeing to appear on their programming. Republicans would have boycotted PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, National Public Radio and The Associated Press decades ago.

This hyperventilation results from the fact that far-left Democrats have no comparable media outlet, nor any widespread national appeal, for their radical views in favor of heavy-handed regulation, wealth redistribution, diplomatic capitulation and economic protectionism. So they attack their rivals’ messenger with a reckless barrage of rhetoric that cuts down their own allies with friendly fire.

I don’t know what more I can add. I thought the Democrats were smarter than I thought. The candidates–John Edwards excepted–and the Nevada party sensibly wanted to reach out beyond their base. Fox News would give them that outlet. But the activists, the “socialist, Web-addicted wing of the Democratic Party,” are too hung up on their idea of a purely internet-powered politics. They can’t see the good reasons for being in front of millions of Fox News viewers. The netroots screamed and the Democratic party caved. As Don Surber put it,

Democrats are picking a presidential candidate, Republicans are picking a president.

Ed Morrissey points out Republicans put up with media outlets that oppose them:

Well, some Republicans might not object to that, but the grown-ups who run the party understand that one has to reach voters in order to convince them to support their candidates. In order to do that, the GOP works with all media outlets, even if they do not trust them at times. The point isn’t to love the network, but to reach their viewers.

The Democrats will have to find a way to prevent these activists from making tactical decisions mob-style. Else the Democrats will become the Party of Fury turning off voters desiring results over anger.

Meltdown over Fox” [via Drudge]

UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini adds:

The New Hampshire Republican Party accepted CNN as the co-sponsor of their April debate — despite the network’s controversial airing of terrorist propaganda videos. As far as I know, no conservative has demanded Republican candidates withdraw from the CNN debate.

If conservatives don’t mind a largely liberal viewership for their debate, why should the opposite be true? Who knows, we might actually convert some of them. Liberals apparently have no similar interest in even talking to conservative red state voters. (And a larger group of them to boot, thanks to Fox News’ dominance in the ratings.)

Will that be their downfall in 2008?

There’s no downside unless Democrats fear Fox News pulling tricks on them and embarrassing themselves in the process.

UPDATE: News Hounds, a Fox News watchdog, attacks Fox News to running a story using the Las Vegas Review Journal’s harsh editorial:

The editors at ignored 145 articles listed in a Google search that objectively told of the decision by Nevada Democrats to cancel a Democratic presidential candidate debate that would have been hosted by the right-wing network. Rather, they chose an editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal that condemned the decision, allowing FOX to publish the opinion while pretending to report a news item.

Why didn’t FOX just report it without the mocking and name-calling embedded in the editorial? Because they’re not about straight news – and that’s why the Democrats dumped them in the first place.

Actually the Democrats dumped Fox News because activists screamed about being forced to watch the channel. It ignores the sensible argument that Fox News has millions of viewers willing to watch Democratic Presidential debates. The Left sacrificed a smart tactic for ideological purity.

[via memeorandum]

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4 Responses to “Netroots Blasted for Debate Debacle”


[...] ‘Captain’ Ed Morrissey agrees with the editorial, as does Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind. Patrick Ruffini adds: I know I’m not supposed to admit this, but “fair and balanced” aside I do think Fox News leans right, as CNN leans left. Let’s just be honest about it and adopt the brutally honest British model of press partisanship. [...]


Another example of the crushing of dissent in George Bush’s America. Once the netroots take over you won’t see these stories anymore.


What “dissent” do you believe is being “crushed”? Democrats are reticent to appear on a GOP house organ that has been unfair and antagonistic to them in the past. Who gives a shit?


[...] The American Mind’s Sean Hackbarth opines, “the Democrats dumped Fox News because activists screamed about being forced to watch the channel. It ignores the sensible argument that Fox News has millions of viewers willing to watch Democratic Presidential debates. The Left sacrificed a smart tactic for ideological purity.” [...]

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