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FOX News to air first Democratic presidential debate

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What? Joseph Goebbels wasn't available?

A rather large brouhaha is brewing over the Nevada Democratic party's decision to have the conservative TV network, FOX News, host the first Democratic presidential primary debate this coming August. A lot of folks are a bit concerned as to why any Democratic would choose the official propaganda organ of the Republican party to host their debate.

I believe the Nevada party is arguing, interestingly, that this is a chance for FOX's audience to get to see the Democratic candidates unvarnished and unedited - i.e., FOX won't be able to negatively spin their appearances the way FOX usually does. But someone in the blogosphere today, I can't remember who, responded: And just who in FOX's audience will be voting for the Democratic candidate?

Now, I think that overestimates FOX's hold on its audience. Like the religious right, FOX has a lot of followers, but not all of FOX's followers are far-right GOP nutjobs. A lot of them are, but many, I suspect, are simply Republicans who like to watch Republican TV the same way we like to read liberal blogs. That doesn't mean that some of those Republicans aren't centrists who might be Perot voters, soccer moms (and grandmoms) and more.

Still, FOX? We couldn't come up with any better network - uh - like all of them? And in any case, I'm not sure we want to be sending any viewers to FOX. Their influence, like the influence of their GOP enablers, is, I think, waning. And, as Bowers notes:

Further, how much of the debate will Fox cut off entirely in order to have their in-house pundits offer negative commentary while the Democratic candidates are still speaking? Four years ago, in typically unfiltered fashion, Fox cut away from the Democratic debate they hosted a couple of minutes before it ended, in order to give arch-conservative William Bennett the first shot at post-debate spin.
That is not an insignificant point. The entire audience will be stuck, momentarily, watching FOX's hacks spin the debate against every candidate. I think we can do better.

Anyway, this is gearing up into quite a battle, with blogpac launching a petition drive, and MoveOn getting involved as well.

Markos has much more on this, including links to a number of other sites' analyzing the issue. Do read.

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