Friday, May 2, 2008

In Support of Appearing on Fox News

In recent days, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have appeared on major Fox News programs. Apparently this has caused quite a stir in some far left circles.

For example, Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the very liberal blog Daily Kos, remarked that "Democrats are being idiotic by going on [Fox News]". Moulitsas and others have previously urged Democrats to boycott Fox News - presumably to economically disrupt and/or politically de-legitimize the cable news ratings leader.

Although certain programs on Fox infuriate me, I think this attitude is obnoxious, ineffective and actually harmful to the country's political debate. I wrote on this last year when Democratic presidential candidates decided to opt out of a Fox News sponsored debate.

The rise of wedge issues and the political consultants that ruthlessly wield them deserve the majority of the blame for the polarized political climate in this country.

Things have become so bad in the last two decades that it seems inconceivable to many that a Democratic presidential candidate could ever win a state like Texas (the state that produced Lyndon Johnson and his liberal Great Society) or that a Republican Presidential candidate could ever win a state like California (the state the produced the Republican icon Ronald Reagan).

...So many people on both sides have stopped trying. For years, Democrats have wholly ceded dozens of congressional districts and millions of voters to Republicans and vice versa.

When Kos or someone else encourages boycotts or actually criticizes a Democrat for merely talking to "the Right", he is only adding to this polarization and the resulting gridlock.

It is absurd that someone like Kos would support (as I do) Barack Obama's policy of talking to hostile foreign leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but be offended when he talks to United States citizen and Fox News employee Chris Wallace!

Conventional politics may demand that you focus on rallying the people that already agree with you, but actual leadership demands that you reach out to some of the people that don't.

The article that sparked my thinking on this matter is here.


Unknown said...

I completely agree. As moronic as most Fox News programming is, refusing to appear on it comes off as bitter and petulant. I'm glad that both HRC and BHO have been unmoved by Kos et al.'s whinings.

Unknown said...

I should add that I'm still okay with refusing to participate in formal debates on Fox News. But I think that it's important that individual candidates be willing to appear.