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There's been a split between the left as to what to do with FOX News.  It's no secret that 99% of Democrats that venture into that hostile environment get their asses kicked in debate.  This is usually because of a variety of factors, including:

1.    Sheer incompetence by the Democratic representative
2.    Unpreparedness.
3.    Skewed panels so that the Democrat has to counter points made by three or four Republicans.
4.    Leading and/or inflammatory questions by the interviewer that are so outrageous the Democrat doesn't know where to begin.
5.    The Democrat is not given equal time to respond.

Watching some Democrats on FOX News Channel, especially on shows like Hannity & Colmes and O'Reilly is like watching a slow train derailment.  In the beginning, the Democrat comes out with a couple strong points, on message, and it looks good.  

But then the right-wing noise machine kicks into full gear, the interviewer or guests pounce on the Democrat like wildabeasts feasting on a fresh carcus, and interview is over with the Democratic message is left mangled and incomprehensible.  

It is said that Demcorats on FOX can reach out to moderates; but usually, the arguments presented by Democrats--if they can be presented at all--are generally weak, wandering, and hardly blunt enough to convince even the most wavering of moderates.  

It's exchanges like this that make Democrats want to swear off FOX:

HANNITY:  OK, OK.  You liberals keep saying the President lied.  Tell me one thing he lied about.

DEM:  Well, to start, there's the way he led us to--

HANNITY:  Come on, name one thing.  Supposedly you guys say he's lied and deceived America.  Can you name one lie?

DEM:  Like I said, the Presi--

HANNITY:  Look, I asked you a question.  Name one lie.  Simple enough if you on the left keep saying you have all these "facts" and "evidence."  Calling the leader of the free world a liar, that's a serious charge, a big thing. I'll give you one last chance.  Name a lie the President of the United States has said to the American public.  

DEM:  Mr. Hannity, are you going to let me fin---

HANNITY:  OK, OK, that's it.  Look, I invited you to the show. I gave you a chance, a forum to speak to the viewers and susbtantiate these wild accusations made by these left-wing radical groups like and others, and you can't even come on TV with a  staight face and ---

DEM:  But, but you--

HANNITY:  Wait. Don't interrupt me. Let me finish.  So we at FOX, we're fair and balanced, see, and I gave you guys the chance to prove that the President is  bad guy, and you can't even name one thing he lied about.  At least the viewers now know that these accusations against the President of the United States are completely unfounded.

Is it no surprise that after half-ass interview after half-ass interview, many Democrats are saying it's time to boycott FOX News.


The logic behind that is this:  Democrats aren't running away from FOX with their tails between their legs; they're taking a defiant stand against propaganda and are forcing FOX to play on their terms.  Like Dean refusing to appear if the Scream was aired, it's thought that highlighting the media bias through the stark absence of Democrats will help our cause. Announcers will say "We invited Democrats to appear, but they refused because they say we're not fair."  Viewers will be prompted to think "Hmm.  Is FOX news not fair?"  

In a semi-rational world, perhaps that would happen if Democrats boycotted FOX News.  More likely, it would read more like this:

"We invited Democrats to appear, but they refused.  Apparently, they don't think they have to defend their side of the story. We'll let that speak for itself."  And FOX viewers (whose brains have been rewired through TV frequency so that they are incapable of independent thought) will think "Why, yes.  O'Reilly is right.  If Democrats are so convinced they're right, why don't they have the courage to come on TV and prove it?"

I don't think a FOX News boycott is in order.  Yes, the environment is a hostile one.  Yes, there are hard-core FOX viewers who have a barf bucket next to their Barcoloungers just so they can throw up every time a Democrat comes on the air. And yes, there is no way we'll change the fundamental FOX paradigm unfair and unbalanced by continuing to show up.

But Democrats have to work through the existing framework and try to reach those few FOX viewers who still have some independent brain function.  I'm talking about old school Republicans; your mom, your uncle, your know, conservatives who don't think Hillary is the AntiChrist.


When Democrats go on FOX News, they have to realize that this isn't a "news" show.  They can't go on there expecting equal time.  They'll have to fight for it.  They can't go on their expecting fact-based discussion.  They'll have to be ready to shoot down the spin.  In short, if Democrats are going to fight to get the truth on the air, they have to wage a war.

Just like a soldier doesn't go into battle without bullets (Rummy's comments aside), no Democrat should ever go to FOX News without being armed to the teeth with facts.  FOX "reporters" think that an inability to recall minute details or facts results in shattered credibility; thus, it doesn't hurt for Democrats to, oh, I don't know, do a Google search or look at DailyKos or other informative blogs to catch the underreported details of a story.  

But facts aren't enough.  You can spout off facts all you want, but if you're basically talking to yourself, you may as well just wave a white flag.  No.  If you're on FOX, you have to fight on both fronts; both offensively informing the American public of the facts AND dismantling the opposing argument. Which is why the Democrats that go on FOX should be cunning, sharp, witty.  They should be able to brush off opposing arguments with the flick of a tongue.  They should take a page from the right-wing debate book and don't act like the other side's argument has any merit.  When they talk about a Social Security crisis, don't begin with "Well, no one is saying that eventually, there won't be a problem, but..."  Ugh.  There is no time for nice talk on FOX.  "There is no crisis.  Stop scaring the American public."

And that leads me to my last point.  The key thing to remember when Democrats go on FOX News is that they are there for viewer.  Not to outsmart the host, not to look pretty for the camera.  Their sole mission is to communicate directly to the viewer the Democratic message and the truth. They'll have to cut through a lot of bullshit to do it, but there are ways.  They should keep saying phrases like "your viewers have to know that Republicans voted against arming our troops in war"  or "American citizens know that benefit cuts are not in their best interest."  Engaging the audience is the sole reason, I think, we have a duty to go on FOX in the first place.

Originally posted to Georgia Logothetis on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cross-pollinated (4.00)
    At my spankin' new blog.  Check it out :)
  •  F*** Fox ! (none)
    I don't think any Democrat should ever bother with that tribe of savages. And I think we should make it clear why they are beneath contempt. Let them talk to themselves, which is what they do anyway.

    And Colmes should get a real job, something that doesn't involve people having to look at him. He is just too weird looking. Sorry.

    Let's get some Democracy for America

    by murphy on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:27:35 AM PDT

  •  Is this a real transcript? (none)
    I know it's indicative of how they behave at Faux, but is this an authentic "conversation"?
  •  Some Dems ,maybe (none)
    Since has geared up Joe Lieberman hasn't been anywhere near a National broadcast on any network.I miss the ammunition Joe gave our group with his lovefest with Hannity but at least the damage he was causing has stopped.The leadership must pick who visits Fox and the message must be clear.

    by ctkeith on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:37:12 AM PDT

  •  Chuck Schumer did well on (none)
    one of the shows. But that's because "they" like his style and he was discussing the World Trade Center memorial/re-building issues.
  •  Give some law student a little publicity, (none)
         by getting her "Democrats excommunicated from church" story to the MSM, and she thinks she can have her own blog...
         Just kidding. Congratulations! We are all "akou-ing" to you these days.
         How on earth do you find time to blog in between the law school stuff? Jeez Louise.
  •  You're right on Georgia (none)
    You know I live in a notorious rainy town. I recall a friend of mine saying while struggling with his umbrella: "An umbrella is like a soft man in the Gulag Archipelago." That might also cover how your average Democrat fits in one FOX.

    As you suggest, the secret formula is really simple:

    First, in the immortal words of Dan Quale: "The one word is 'to be prepared.'" The Daily Howler details almost every day how woefully underprepared are the Dem operatives on the network news - not just FOX. But FOX is where their unpreparedness is most mercilessly punished and exploited.

    Second, realize that this isn't exactly the faculty room on Princeton. Take out the assault rifle (rhetorically speaking) and pay back in kind.

    But I'm preaching to the quoir...

    Equally smart, more cosmopolitan, less crowded: join Booman Tribune!

    by Sirocco on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:43:30 AM PDT

  •  This is tough one (none)
    There are occasions where I've seen Dems do very well on Fox, often exceeding expectations by a mile.  But, overall, Fox's right-wing slant penalizes Dems time and time again.  I don't know the answer to this one, but i appreciate the posing of the very thought-provoking and important question.

    "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    by pontificator on Mon May 09, 2005 at 07:43:47 AM PDT

  •  Dems should not pull punches (4.00)
    on Fox. When the host interupts, or tries to derail what is being said, the Dems should not play along. They should say things like:

    I'll answer your interuption after I've answered your question.

    Don't you think your viewers would be better served if I tell them what I think, instead of you telling them what you think I think?

    Look, we all know you're a republican operative, but can't you at least pretend to be a  journalist for one minute here?

  •  It's about revenue, too. (none)
    Most cable boxes allow you to 'Block' unwanted channels. I did that to Fox News and looked away when I 'poked' in a password so now I can't get it back without 'looking-the-fool'.

    Comcast AND Fox sponsers know there is one less viewer.

    I know that one out of one point five million is less than nothing but:
       I'm not missing anything...
       I feel better...
       Leading is best done by example...

    In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards. - Samuel Clemens

    by SteveK on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:03:43 AM PDT

    •  I did the same thing about a year ago (none)
      I hope everyone else that can block FOX on their cable box does it.  I know the code to get it unblocked and I haven't entered it once since I blocked it.  You won't miss a thing.

      "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." -Abraham Lincoln

      by Dr Van Nostrand on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:46:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just deleted it... (none)
        ...from my channel lineup. When I surf the channels, it goes from 47 to 49 without even missing a beat. I never realize that a channel 48 (Fox News) exists. It's wonderful.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:49:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I say (none)
    Dems should BOYCOTT Hannity, at least, and the boycott should be accompanied by a very public statement of the reason, as well as a call for all Republicans to denounce the damaging rhetoric of Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, and their ilk.

    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

    by Omar on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:17:38 AM PDT

    •  Boycott? Seriously... (none)
      Asking Democrats to boycott Fox News is like asking Jewish people to boycott Jimmy Dean. Both Jews and Jimmy Dean know that the sausage isn't meant for them, and Jimmy Dean isn't counting on sales from Jews.

      The REAL answer is to counter Fox News with a "real" liberal news outlet. Oneathesedays, Alice, somebody with some money (George Soros comes to mind) is going to have to bite the bullet and start DemocracyTV or something.

      "Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is always dangerous." --Alan Barth

      by PerfectStormer on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fox Hole (none)
    Congratulations on the blog Georgia - where do you find the time girl?

    You're absolutely right on the reality of a boycott, same strategy as the empty chair or missing witness at trial.  The Dems need a Fox boot camp or "Fox Hole" training.  If they can be prepped for campaign speeches and debates, they can learn how to do battle with the likes of Hannity and O'Reilly.

  •  Wildebeests are herbivores. (none)
    They would not feast on a fresh carcus.

    That said, liberals should stay the fuck off Fox news. It is stupid to gamble with one's politcal fortunes in a rigged game.

    If you have got a boss, you need a union. Read

    by BartBoris on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

  •  Democrats can survive on FOX.... (none)
    ...provided that they know they're walking straight into an ambush of agressively asserted Republican talking points. And provided that they're willing to fight back hard and not concede an inch. Most talking head Democrats and "liberal" pundits don't have the stomach for this, unfortunately. Which, of course, is the reason why these people are pundits and talking heads, because the networks wouldn't want a Democrat to fight back too hard. The liberals who do best on FOX are the ones who are smart, tough and agressive, like Spitzer or Schumer, not weak-kneed "reasonable" Democrats like Lieberman.
  •  Georgia strikes again! (none)
    Georgia, you rock! ((swoon))

    I have to say, I don't think a boycott will work from a viewer point of view or a guest point of view. Too hard to herd the donkeys.

    But we should be able to eventually define Fox as the conservative news outlet, engendering distrust. The Dems should also develop a one-word response to use during times we're getting shafted. Some sort of codeword that dogwhistles to the world that we know there's bullshit happening. It has to be one word, because they'll cut you off if it's anything longer.

    The Dems need to be more creative as well, pulling out cards that say things like "they're not letting me speak" to the camera, etc. Or pull out tape and put it over their mouths, etc. Be out there a little bit.

    Most importantly we need some seminars, practice sessions and media experts prepping our people before they go on. We should never go in and get blind-sided.

    Ideally once someone is shafted, they wouldn't go back, but unfortunately too many of these guests will do anything to be on TV, regardless of network. No way to break that, really.

  •  SB called 'Fox Political Entertainment Network' (none)
    not FoxNews, there's no news component to speak of.
  •  Just ignore the damn thing (none)
    Dems have no business ever going on Fox News. And if they ask, we say it has nothing to do with their politics, but with their treatment of guests. If they offered guests a fair hearing, there wouldn't be any problem, but the Hannity crap you so excellently modeled means there's no free or fair discussion, instead everything is manipulated for the benefit of the host and his agenda.

    I don't think our side should make a big deal of it - and should only give the above response if asked - but we should just ignore Fox News. Our being on there does our cause no good, it achieves little and yet comes at the cost of wasted time and wasted effort.

    Going on Fox News is like sitting down at a poker table where you know the cards are marked in advance but you don't know how to read the code. It's just stupid and self-defeating.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Mon May 09, 2005 at 08:48:57 AM PDT

  •  Check the math (none)
     123456789  123456789   12345678

    FOX = 666

    Case closed

    "It's about the accountability, stupid." Thomas Davis 2005.

    by Tomtech on Mon May 09, 2005 at 09:22:01 AM PDT

  •  my answer to this got so long (none)
    I turned it into a separate diary: Interview skills 101--Surviving the Fox Hunt.  I hope anyone still monitoring this thread will check it out.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 09, 2005 at 06:09:10 PM PDT

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