May 27, 2007


Democrat presidential hopefuls shun Fox News debate: But Congressional Black Caucus still hopes to salvage the event on network seen as conservative and pro-Republican (RAYMOND HERNANDEZ and JACQUES STEINBERG, 5/27/07, New York Times)

Four years ago, the leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus began looking for a television outlet to co-sponsor and broadcast a presidential debate to address the concerns of minority voters.

Only one news channel made a proposal acceptable to the caucus, and an unlikely channel at that: Fox News, in what some Democrats viewed as an effort to associate itself with a group that could help it make good on its claim of presenting "fair and balanced" news coverage.

But now that relationship is being shaken by the decision of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to shun the debate, a move that has exposed fault lines among two major constituencies of the Democratic Party. While the withdrawals frustrated members of the black caucus, it mollified liberals who had objected to the involvement of Fox News, whose programming includes some of the most conservative and pro-Republican commentary on the air.

Funny how the black side of the party always has to take a back seat to the elite white side.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 27, 2007 6:25 AM

Let O'Reilly eat baba.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 27, 2007 1:34 PM

That last sentence should read ... the only conservative and pro-Republican commentary on the air.

It would be great if members of the black caucus debated issues even if it would just among themselves. I think a lot of eyes would be opened as to why the A-List candidates didn't show up. It's not those mean Fox reporters they're afraid of. They're afraid if they support the lunatic leftwing black caucus agenda, voters will peel off in droves and if they don't, there'll be heck to pay among the black leadership.

Talk about must see TV!

Posted by: erp at May 27, 2007 3:12 PM

The idea of a presidential debate pitched only to certain racial groups is creepy. Of course, the Democrats who shunned this debate did not do so for the right reasons.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 27, 2007 5:21 PM

Debates in IA and NH are just for ofays.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2007 9:31 PM


That's due to the makeup of the people in the area and the importance of those states to presidential electioneering. They are not pitched as white-only events and it would be outrageous to do so. Of course, we all know that politicians tailor their messages to their audiences, but proclaiming it as such is divisive. The universality of certain political arguments matters: When Americans of certain ethnic stock make their cases for the Jews or the Irish or the Italians, it's not implied that you have to be one of them to be on their side.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 27, 2007 10:54 PM

One can legitimately prefer open shuck and jive. Blacks vote Democrat at 90+%, they deserve whatever they ask of the party.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2007 7:24 AM


Vote for a political party in numbers like those and they'll take you for granted, which the Democrats surely do. Blacks could get the Democrats to pay attention by either voting GOP or staying at home on election day.

I'm not saying it's right, but it's hardly surprising and, faced with a black vote percentage that is a sure thing, what incentives do the Democrats have to act differently?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 28, 2007 8:41 PM


Incidentally, they may "deserve" it and that still doesn't make it a good idea.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 28, 2007 9:55 PM