Why The Democrats are Ducking Fox News
If there was any question as to why the Democrats were refusing to hold a debate sponsored by Fox News, last night’s broadcast of the YouTube debate on CNN should be self explanatory.
Many of the questions chosen among thousands of YouTube submissions appeared to be selected more for their entertainment value than for the way the question addressed a specific issue. And those questions that did confront an issue were so general in nature it allowed even the dumbest of candidates (Biden) to hit it out of the park. In the midst of a war involving 160,000 Americans in Iraq, there was no question – not one – about terrorism. And given the recent eruption on Capitol Hill over immigration, not one question was directed toward that issue either.
Instead, you had people asking questions in costume. Or with props as the poor fellow who asked a question about gun control while cradling his rifle and calling it “my baby”. Senator Biden, not getting the joke, called the young man “mentally unbalanced” and suggested he shouldn’t even possess a gun. Most of the questions were the kind of earnest citizen kinds of questions you hear at a televised town hall meeting. And Anderson Cooper obliged the Democrats beautifully by doing his earnest reporter shtick which may not be very deep or penetrating as far as getting at the truth but sure looks good on TV.
I have yet to see a Democratic debate moderated by anyone who actually wants to hold these politicians feet to the fire and get them off their talking points in order to address the substance of an issue. Contrast CNN’s kid gloves treatment of Democrats with Chris Wallace’s boring in on Giuliani’s abortion flip flops or Romney’s switcheroo on gay marriage when the Republican candidates debated on Fox News last month. Their answers left them wide open to criticism by other candidates on the stage which made for a somewhat more lively night.
The problem is that the public won’t give the GOP any credit for going on CNN nor will they penalize the Democrats for not going on Fox. It’s a shame because the Democrats are not only losing out on twice the audience they would get appearing on Fox but would also benefit by delineating and sharpening their differences a little bit.