Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

It looks like the Nevada Democratic Party's house of cards, and particularly Harry Reid's stonewalling, is collapsing.  Local Democrats are frustrated.  John Edwards stepped up big time, and made a choice of refusing to validate a right-wing institution over staying silent to placate various Nevada leaders that he needs to win the nomination.  Reid's office is getting slammed with calls.

Most significantly, Fox News is losing their brand.  They may and probably will try to negotiate another Democratic Presidential debate (with either the CBC or other state parties).  They have to in fact do so in order to validate their status as a news channel.  But there's now an obvious cost to Democratic leaders who betray Democrats, and that's what happened here when someone in Nevada booked Fox News to host the debate.

Progress feels very slow in politics, but this is a serious step forward.  In 2000, and even today, activist Democrats made jokes about Al Gore inventing the internet without recognizing they have been conned by a media system.  The right-wing critique of media is as old as Spiro Agnew (or earlier), so a core attack on journalism has been a part of their political philosophy for some time.  They recognize that information is power, and how you distribute information is a key piece to fight over.  Democrats didn't acknowledge this, thinking that just putting the facts 'out there' was enough.  This beating back of the Reid machine, headed by one of the most powerful men in the country, and the Nevada Democratic Party's rapid withdrawal on Fox News simply could not have happened without tremendous frustration among Democratic activists at how media power is used against us.  

Media is now a core part of politics for Democratic activists.  We are now finally recognizing the power of information, and that putting 'the facts out there' represents a core set of values that must be defended.  To contextualize this, the Iraq war really created the mass basis for a media reform movement that had been simmering since the 1970s.  When progressives finally realized that the lack of debate in the press had led to the strategic and moral error of Iraq, a mass movement began to organize against powerful interests.  That's where the net neutrality fight, among others, came from.  It's also where the grassroots pressure to not ratify Fox News as a legitimate news source is coming from.

I was frankly surprised that Edwards dropped out of the debate, and that we've gotten as far as we have in so little time.  It's a huge step forward in so many ways.

Tags: Harry Reid, John Edwards (all tags)



Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

FYI: There is going to be a conference call this morning between Tom Collins and the Executive Board concerning the debate (cf.:; No word if harry is included.

by texex 2007-03-07 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

Matt or anyone else out there.....

Can someone please post an e-mail or web address for the appropriate person (s) in Hillary, Obama and Richardson's campaigns. We need to get those three to also drop out of the Fox debate. And plenty of us are happy to apply the pressure.  Just give us the tools. (And cross-post it on Kos!)

Thanks to Matt and so many others who have pushed hard on this fight. We need to enjoy whatever victories we get and keep pushing for more.

by midwestmeg 2007-03-07 06:37AM | 0 recs
Edwards panders to Stoller

Doesn't he know he can't get your vote?

Just kidding; good job by both the netroots and Edwards.

by david mizner 2007-03-07 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

 This old diary of mine seems relevant in this context.

 If we can see it at the grassroots, there no reason the leadership shouldn't be able to.

by Master Jack 2007-03-07 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

Oh btw, the deal is that Collins clearly violated the bylaws by engaging Fux. Bad boy! The real question is how many of the board will stand up and how many will go back into their prairie dog holes. is suggesting that the debate may come down to one of Hillary's faces debating the other.

by texex 2007-03-07 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

I suspect somebody doesn't have a lot of LUV for Hillary.

by eddieb 2007-03-07 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

Where is Obama on this one? Has he spoken out on whether he will attend the Madrassa Channel sponsored  Debate? Hmmmm I'm holding my breath here, what the delay?

by eddieb 2007-03-07 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

I thought Obama announced awhile ago that he wouldn't participate because of scheduling conflicts.  Maybe that was a different Nevada debate.

by ChgoSteve 2007-03-07 06:47AM | 0 recs
that was a forum in NV

that already happened

by TarHeel 2007-03-07 06:48AM | 0 recs
Different debate

That was a candidate forum, not nationally televised, which already happened.

Obama hasn't issued a statement either way at this point.  Doesn't mean what he'll do.  But in any case, major points to Edwards for getting out in front on doing the right thing--and I say this as an Obama supporter (for now).

by Go Vegetarian 2007-03-07 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight
This has the potential to be embarrassing for the Nevada Democratic Party, but Fox as a meganetwork will do what it does.
by Josh Berthume 2007-03-07 06:49AM | 0 recs
Game, Set, Match

I'll bet Obama drops next, and then the little game is over.

Media control, in particular control of television chains is extraordinarily important for conservative power around the world. I'm not talking about business newspapers like Wall Street Journal, rather the low-brow, scandal sheets targetted at a popular, if not ignorant, audience. It seems like every country has a media mogul running newspapers with bare bosoms or TV stations with lurid crime coverage. At election time they are positioned with audience control to feed name recognition, attack ads and scare tactics. Germany, Italy, Brazil, it happens everywhere, and they are reasonably successfull at demonizing the left and getting extreme right wingers elected.

(Conservattive religious control is the obvious other power center that supports the right-wing the world over.)

But, they aren't omnipotent. It is a sign of VRWC weakness that they have to rely on lies and fear-mongering. Sometimes the facts just get in the way, and that is our strength.

More important is to force the rest of the media to stay balanced and factual. Call them on their distortions. The VLWC is much, much bigger than the right wing if we count all the honest intellectuals, the working scientists and researchers. We don't have to fund so many left-wing think tanks, because reality is on our side. Maybe we just fund media watch-dogs and organizations to easily diseminate information.... we could call them blogs.

As Matt says, we need to confront the Fox news and the right-wing media here. It is a rare and sweet victory when a direct challenge like this wins. Let's look for many more!

by MetaData 2007-03-07 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Game, Set, Match
If Obama goes, the debate is essentially dead. If he stays, he loses a lot of goodwill in the blogosphere but the debate remains viable and Edwards loses out by playing in to the "two-horse race" meme.
by Englishlefty 2007-03-07 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

I wonder sometimes what John Edwards would really do for America. His ability to find the right path here impresses me greatly.

by heyAnita 2007-03-07 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight
For what John Edwards thinks needs to be done (whoa, too many verbs), check out his "Will you stand up?" and "Realizing the Dream" speeches.
"Will you stand up?"
"Realizing the Dream"
by jallen 2007-03-07 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

Matt and team My DD,

Good for Team Edwards! Kudos. They are now my front runner for 2008.

The real solution to the Fox News propaganda machine is to threaten to revoke foreign ownership of media companies. If Newt Gingrich hadn't open the door for this we wouldn't be here. Coincidence that he gets so much air play on that network?

Fox is not accountable precisely because their ownership is not US based. I think we've all had enough of their BS at this point. How would Fox fight this on the air? They going to stand up for Foreign Ownership of their network to an audience that opposed immigration? Let them wast energy doing this.

They have not been serving the public interest for some time. It is questionable that if they ever really did. Even if ownership is not revoked across the board, Fox has to pay price for having explicitly chosen the wrong side.

by smacfarl 2007-03-07 06:40PM | 0 recs
Edwards often surprises me.
You know, Edwards often surprises me by doing something like this that's more courageous than I normally expect from politicians. Then it hits me. "Oh yeah. It's John Edwards. Why in the world would I be surprised?" In short, I should just stop being surprised when Edwards does the right thing. That seems to be just the kind of guy he is.
by sirius 2007-03-08 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

Obama has already cut off Faux for the madrassa story.  He won't have anything to do with them, debate or no.  

by nucaldem 2007-03-08 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Contextualizing the Fox News Fight

"Fox is not accountable precisely because their ownership is not US based."

Didn't Murdock takeup American citizenship some time ago? (Amid great fanfare and patriotic music)

I believe he also became a British citizen when his 'interests' moved there from Australia. he became more British than his 'bud', "Maggy".

Now he waves a flag with stripes rather than crosses, but still promotes the same 'ol, same 'ol.

by croghan27 2007-03-09 03:59AM | 0 recs


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