Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kucinich Shivs His Base

Democratic Presidential embarassment aspirant Dennis Kucinich blasts the rests of the field for pulling out of the Fox sponsored Nevada debate. From the Kucinich presser (h/t OPENERS):

    Other candidates were trying to sidestep the Nevada debate because they claimed that the sponsoring television network, Fox News Channel, was conservatively biased.

    “If you want to be the President of the United States, you can’t be afraid to deal with people with whom you disagree politically,” Kucinich said. “No one is further removed from Fox’s political philosophy than I am, but fear should not dictate decisions that affect hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of others around the world who are starving for real leadership.”

    Kucinich said “the public deserves honest, open, and fair public debate, and the media have a responsibility to demand that candidates come forward now, before the next war vote in Congress, to explain themselves.”
Now I could write a post about how the problem with the debate is that it legitimizes Fox as a news organization. I could note that Dennis's statement further legitimizes Fox, which doesn't serve the progressive values he espouses. I might even ask, Plunderbund style "What the fuck doesn't Dennis understand about Fox?"

But all of that's that's beside the point. We all know what this was about, and we know Dennis knows it too. But instead of joining with the party to use the occasion to drive home the teachable moment, Kucinich undermines the hard work of progressives on the issue and amplifies the talking points of the Fox crowd.

And all this is Dennis serving the interests of Dennis, his favorite constituent. Despite all his counterproductive self-aggrandizement, his constituents continue to send him back to Congress. What the fuck don't they understand about what this guy is really about?


Mencken said...

I think just as compelling an argument could be made that boycotting Fox amplifies the talking points of the Fox crowd.

It's a tough call, but taking your ball and going home never reflects well on you.

redhorse said...

Maybe not, but I'm still waiting for someone, anyone to explain why the presidential candidates should be held to the fire for a mistake made by the Nevada Democratic Party. NDP thought it would be swell to align with Fox, not the candidates, so why are they beholden to NDP's incredible lapse of judgment?

Pho said...

HL, I'm not sure what you mean by "amplifies the talking points of the Fox crowd." Certainly, it won't make Fox any harsher, since they are as harsh as they can get away with now. Certainly as far as publicity for Fox, it's a wash.

I agree with Red that it's not the candidates' fault, but they will get the blame because that's how it goes. But I'm happy to see Dems stand up to the schoolyard bully that is Fox. This shouldn't be the end of the fight, but hopefully it is the beginning.

In any event, I am convinced to the bottom of my soul that had the field as a whole decided to press forward with the debate, Kucinich would have lambasted them for that.

Lisa Renee said...

Personally I think the perfect way to reach out to people would have been to do the debate. Given the recent piece in Openers about the lack of progressive voices on Sunday tv, this is a prime example of a situation that could have been taken but was not. It's really hard to promote on the one hand that voices are not being heard yet on the other hand be refusing to utilize every possible source to get a message out there...

Daniel Jack Williamson said...

How about the flip side of the coin? Should Republican candidates interview with MTB when they know that most of the bloggers in attendance will be Democrats?

Once upon a time, I was a candidate for public office myself. The union locals in Lorain County won't endorse any Republicans, even if the candidate is a fellow union member (like I was during my 2002 campaign). During the 2004 campaign, the other local Republican candidates told me in advance that they were not going to attend the candidate forums being hosted by the unions. At the Lorain County UAW CAP Council before the general election in 2004, a union member asked me why no other Republicans showed up for the candidates' night. Should I have told them that the other Republican candidates did not desire to be verbally abused like they had always been in the past?

A liberal appearing on Fox News is a cakewalk compared to a Republican appearing before union locals in Lorain County. If Fox News would agree to carry the debate in it's entirety, then what do the candidates have to fear? The candidates should only fear distortion of their message when the MSM uses sound bites taken out of context. Which scenario would the candidates prefer: Having viewers see an entire debate on Fox News? Or having viewers see only sound bites of the debate on Fox News because the debate was hosted by someone else? Full coverage? Or only sound bites? Full coverage? Or only sound bites? It's a no-brainer for me: I'd want full coverage!

This is one of those few times when I am in full agreement with Dennis Kucinich.

There are too many politicians who will only preach to the choir. The candidates who fear to participate in a debate hosted by Fox News are either too cowardly or too snobbish to be President of the United States of America.

Mencken said...

Firedoglake made a good point that Jon Stewart completely disarmed Tucker Carlson simply by going on Crossfire and telling the truth. Crossfire was dead
a couple of months later.

"Amplify the talking points" was your line. Running away from Fox most certainly perpetuates the myth(?)
that Democrats have no stomach for fights. I say challenge these bastards, on any streetcorner you meet them.

Pho said...

I may have gotten a little ahead of myself going after The Koosh before making the case for the pullout. I may get to a more detailed post on that later, but right now I'm already up against it for the day.

For me the issue wasn't avoiding the debate because Dems wouldn't be treated fairly there. I like pulling out of the debate as a statement that Fox is not a true news organization but is an advocacy organ for conservative Republicans.

NDP signing Fox up as the host was legitimizing. If Dems are to truly fight against Fox, the first line of attack is against what Fox pretends to be but isn't -- an honest broker in the news business.

Daniel Jack Williamson said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, Pho, but in the TV world, ratings legitimize networks. Candidates appear in many places that don't fit your definition of news, such as the Late Show with David Letterman or MTV's Rock the Vote or The View or even Saturday Night Live. The candidates legitimize none of these, nor would they legitimize Fox News. Ratings=advertisers=money, and Fox News, along with the abovementioned shows, already have what legitimizes them.

Pho said...


When Cheney told voters that they should only watch Fox News during the '04 election cycle, he wasn't saying so because it is popular. He was making the intellectually vacuous case that Fox is the least biased news organ.

When people talk about standing and fighting against Fox, what they should be talking about is fighting against this self-perpetuated myth of Fox as fair and balanced. That's what the debate pullout was about. One may or may not agree about whether it helps the effort, but that's what it's about. And no, this one step won't reverse the tide, but it's one shot in an ongoing war.

The point of the post -- the duplicity and opportunism of The Koosh -- still stands. He portrayed the pullout inaccurately. It wasn't about being "afraid" of their treatment by Fox. It was about not buying into the myth of Fox as something other than a house organ for the Republican party.

Daniel Jack Williamson said...

Assuming that we all concede that Fox News is commandeered by Republicans, we must still remember that the debate is only taking place among Democrat candidates. There are no Republican candidates in the debate for the network to side with. Do Democrats want their full message to reach Fox News voters by insisting the debate be broadcast in its entirety? Or would the Democrats prefer to take their chances with Fox News sound bites from a debate hosted by someone else? For me it's a no-brainer. Do the debate with the stipulation that Fox News airs it unedited in its entirety. As a former, lower-tiered Republican candidate I engaged voters wherever I found them--even at "non-partisan" forums that were orchestrated by bluest of blue-dog Democrats. I never verbally challenged the legitimacy of the forum merely because it failed to live up to it's "non-partisan" billing. I just participated and articulated. As a candidate, I sought to represent ALL of the voters, not just the Republican ones.

If the majority of Dem prez hopefuls will only preach to their own choir at meticulously pre-arranged photo-ops, then they don't really deserve any hard news coverage by the networks. They deserve supermarket checkout tabloid coverage, like anyone else aspiring to be a pop diva. They are hardly prez material.

boringmadedull said...

It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't moment. Even Harry Reid endorsed this at some point.

If the dems appear on a Fox sposored debate, they lose the Kossaks.

If they don't they'll get tarred with a brush that says something like: democratic candidate XXX was too scared Fox to appear on an all-democratic debate. What is XXX going to do with Syria? Iran? North Korea? Iraq?

The message of cancelling the debate is Democrats = Fraidycats.

On this one, Dennis was right.

Can't imagine saying that....

Eric said...

hah! made you say fuck. my work here is done. who'da thought a hippie buddhist would be such a bad influence?