The Lonely Centrist

A place for reasoned debate about the issues of the day.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Democrats: Just Say No to Fox... and Colbert... and who else?

Rahm Emmanuel is advising congressional Democrats not to appear on Steve Colbert's satirical "Colbert Report" on Comedy Central. One can understand the desire not to appear on "Colbert" in a "gotcha" politics world, but really, do we want it known that Democrats are either afraid or too dull to appear on Colbert?

This comes on the heels of some whining by Representative Maurice Hinchey and other Democrats that Sunday talk shows are booking more conservative guests than liberal ones (they base this on a rather murky study by the liberal group Media Matters). This appears to be part of the liberal move to reimpose the so-called "fairness doctrine" on broadcasters, under which presidential administrations harassed their political opponents (see page 12) and the airwaves were largely free of interesting public affairs programming.

The whole idea that we would need a "fairness doctrine" because of the "scarcity" of the airwaves, in an era of cable and satellite television and radio, is laughable. One can roust up literally dozens if not hundreds of channels featuring almost every viewpoint imaginable, and that's before we get to webcasts and the like.

Finally, Democrats recently cancelled a presidential debate because it was set to air on Fox News. Harry Reid offered up the transparently ridiculous excuse that he was upset by comments made by Fox News Chief Roger Ailes (transparently ridiculous because the allegedly offending comment was a joke about President Bush being too dumb or ill-informed to know the difference between Osama Bin Laden or Barack Obama). The real reason was a crazed reaction from the Democratic left.

This seems remarkably bone-headed. If Democrats think that Fox tilts right (it does), the answer is, "grow up." For years Republicans have done interviews and debates on CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS. The rage that the left wing feels about a the very existence of a single conservative-leaning network is difficult for rational people to grasp. It would seem to demonstrate an enormous insecurity, a deep-rooted intolerance for opposition, general paranoia, an inability to look at the world rationally, or some combination of the four. I hate to go into pop psychology, but its hard to explain in any other way. In any case, though, it really seems bone-headed because Democrats should not stop appearing on the most conservative - and importantly, most watched - cable network (especially in a debate featuring only Democrats). There is a growing, and in my view unhealthy trend, to only be willing to listen to news and opinion we think we want to hear. To have the leadership of a major party playing into that insular thinking is a mistake.

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