Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, is still smarting from the Democrats’ refusal to submit themselves to the abuse that passes for debate on the Fox News Channel. Back in February, the Democratic Party pulled out of a debate that was scheduled to be broadcast by Fox News. It was a rare show of courage to deny the Republican network another opportunity to disparage the Democrats running for president. They should expand on that example and refuse all appearances on Fox. (see Starve The Beast). Rupert Murdoch and his media megaphone is openly hostile to their agenda and representatives. Fox will only use such appearances to distort their message and derail their mission. But Wallace is holding a grudge and recently told Politico:
“I think the Democrats are damn fools [for] not coming on Fox News. And my guess is that once you get a nominee, they probably will come on, because they know that we get a lot of voters they are going to need if they are going to win the election.”
And why wouldn’t they come on? Why wouldn’t they be consumed with giddy anticipation at the mere thought of appearing on a network whose hosts refer to them as “damn fools?” You’ll probably have to hire extra security to keep them from rushing the doors.
Certainly they are aware of how desperately they need you and how truly concerned you are about their prospects for winning the election. They know full well how many Democratic voters are devoted viewers of Fox News. Never mind the fact that…
“…research revealed that Fox viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88% to 7%. Only Republicans were more united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers.”
If there is anything that Wallace cares about it’s fairness. Well, that and balance, but let’s leave his mental state out of this. In further remarks to Politico, Wallace wonders…
“Just imagine if the Republicans, under pressure from right-to-life groups, refused to appear on CNN or MSNBC. I think there would be holy unshirted hell. I think there would be such talk about these people being captives of the extreme right wing and why are they afraid to answer questions. And I think the absence of that is very telling. At this point, it has become kind of a loyalty test inside the Democratic Party, … pandering to the far-left-wing. And we live with it.”
It turns out that we don’t have to use our imagination. Anyone who has watched any of the Republican debates can see that they are captives of the extreme right wing. Plus (keep your shirts on, hell or otherwise), Republicans have already implemented a boycott of MSNBC:
“We don’t mind skipping MSNBC. No one watches that channel anyway,” says a high-placed Republican consultant [...] Word is, a growing number of GOP lawmakers have become mysteriously “unavailable” when asked to appear on MSNBC.
Wallace’s comments are proof of a threat issued earlier this year by the AP’s David Bauder when he warned that…
“A feud against Fox might not be the best long-term plan, either. People there have been known to hold a grudge.”
Holding grudges against news subjects is not exactly the sort of behavior engaged in by reputable journalists. Neither is calling them “damn fools” because they won’t help you increase your advertising revenue by sharing the stage with known enemies pretending to be reporters. Therefore, I suppose we can forgive Fox because they have never aspired to being reputable journalists in the first place. And Wallace might want to think twice about how he sweet talks politicians and other newsmakers to appear on his 4th ranked Sunday blatherfest. For the entire four years that Wallace has hosted Fox News Sunday, it has consistently lost the ratings battle to ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Who needs who, Chris?
In the end, Wallace is just trying to keep his sense of humor:
“I used to laugh and dismiss this talk about how we were – that there was a liberal bias in the mainstream media. But I have to say in the four years I’ve been at Fox, I’ve come to believe that there is a bias.“
In that case, the four years he’s spent at Fox have taught him something – Fox is biased. Sure, it’s something everybody else has known all along, but Chris Wallace is a damn fool. We’re lucky he’s learned anything.