Sunday, March 11, 2007


First, it was Markos at dKos calling on Democratic presidential candidates to refuse to participate in a Fox News-sponsored debate in Nevada in August.

Sen. John Edwards toppled first. He announced he would boycott said debate.

Then in a speech Roger Ailes, Fox News chief, told a series of jokes, riffing on Osama bin Laden, ending with this:
And 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?"

To be perfectly technical, Ailes' joke was at the dim-witted president's expense, not Barak's, but the Nevada Democratic Party, which had agreed to accept Fox News as a sponsor of the presidential debate that John Edwards was making hay on boycotting, immediately seized on the Ailes joke as a pretext for canceling the debate altogether. Ailes "went too far," said Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman Tom Collins and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking in unison as quickly as possible.

We're no fan of Fox News. But this approach to dealing with its "fauxness" is just dumb. Staging boycotts does not debilitate the enemy. Boycotts do exactly the opposite, puff the enemy up into a huge bogeyman. Holding up Fox's "fair & balanced" coverage to ridicule, a la Jon Stewart, is a far more productive approach.

So we find ourselves in some agreement with the jowly gnome who runs Fox. Thursday night Roger Ailes said:
Any candidate for high office from either party who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake about journalists .... Recently, pressure groups are forcing candidates to conclude that the best strategy for journalists is divide and conquer, to only appear on those networks and venues that give them favorable coverage.

The course John Edwards has set out on, and which other Democrats are copying, will become increasingly difficult to maintain, and counter-productive, to boot.

Take a lesson from Jon Stewart, boys!

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