Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 25, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

The Unwomanly Face of War

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Ear to the Ground
Email this item Print this item

Fox News Debate Implodes

Posted on Mar 9, 2007
Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News Channel and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group.

Liberal bloggers had gone crazy when they heard the Nevada Democratic Party had agreed to co-sponsor a debate with Fox News. On Friday the event was canceled after a series of developments. Barack Obama was freezing out Fox reporters, John Edwards and Bill Richardson announced they wouldn’t participate in the debate and, finally, Fox President Roger Ailes (above) brought the whole thing crashing down with a botched bad joke.

Nevada Democratic Party Chairman Tom Collins and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded by calling off the event: “In light of his comments, we have concluded that it is not possible to hold a Presidential debate that will focus on our candidates and are therefore canceling our August debate.” The Democrats did not say what was found offensive, but some media sources reported that the issue was an Ailes joke suggesting that Sen. Obama was a terrorist.

Reid and Collins tell Fox News the debate is off (from Daily Kos):


March 9, 2007

  Marty Ryan
  Executive Producer
  Fox News Political Programs
  xxx-xxx-xxxx (fax)
  400 N Capitol Street NW, Suite 550
  Washington DC 20001


  Dear Marty,

  A month ago, the Nevada Democratic Party entered into a good faith agreement with FOX News to co-sponsor a presidential debate in August. This was done because the Nevada Democratic Party is reaching out to new voters and we strongly believe that a Democrat will not win Nevada unless we find new ways to talk to new people.

  To say the least, this was not a popular decision. But it is one that the Democratic Party stood by. However, comments made last night by FOX News President Roger Ailes in reference to one of our presidential candidates went too far. We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments.

  In light of his comments, we have concluded that it is not possible to hold a Presidential debate that will focus on our candidates and are therefore canceling our August debate. We take no pleasure in this, but it is the only course of action.


  Tom Collins
  Chairman, Nevada State Democratic Party

  Harry Reid
  U.S. Senator (D-NV)

Read more

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments

By David, March 12, 2007 at 4:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think any any efforts to grant legitamacy to FOX as a credible news organization is a bad idea.  The Democrats should alienate this network completely - no interviews. Period.  The “Neocon Network” is nothing more than the bully pulpit for tabloid jornalists and the government’s smear and propaganda campaigns.  Just because it is popular doesn’t mean that it is a real news network.

Report this

By Christopher Robin, March 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m all for restoring the job of hosting the debates back to the “League of Woman Voters” as it once was.

They hosted a far more fair handed, civilized debate than the current party kabal.

From Wikipedia:

In 1987, the LWV (“League of Woman Voters”)withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were conducted.

On October 2, 1988, the LWV’s 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a dramatic press release:

“The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates ... because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

Report this

By Ernest Canning, March 11, 2007 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Democrats want to have a meaningful debate, they should arrange it on C-SPAN, ask Amy “Speak Truth to Power” Goodman to moderate it and invite all networks to meet their civic duty to simultaneously broadcast it.  Simultaneously, they should press forward with legislation designed to mandate such coverage as part of the price networks should have to pay for the monopoly licenses the government provides them to operate on the “public” airwaves.

Report this

By Independent Moderate, March 11, 2007 at 8:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the same “news” channel that repeatedly reported a fictional story that Barack Obama attended a madrassah, and Fox News has YET to retract it, even though it’s been debunked. The Democrats don’t owe Fox any favors.

Report this

By ChicagoGuy, March 11, 2007 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Way to go Dems! The only way to beat Faux News is to hit them where it hurts, their profit margin. It’s not only the Dems who should be boycotting Faux News but any person with a shred of decency left should do so as well. Fox does nothing but spew lies and hatred which has gone on long enough. Now start boycotting their sponsors.

Report this

By Craig Whipps, March 10, 2007 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In that speech, Roger Ailes said: ” Freedowm of speech didn’t create democracy; democracy created freedom of speech.”

Thomas Payne’s “Common Sense” isn’t one of the Artful Dodger’s favorites, apparently.

Report this

By Christopher Robin, March 10, 2007 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FOX only wants to use people with differing views as props for their Kabuki theater.

Let them “editorialize”...**cough**...“report” .. with their own actors. The public is well aware there is a democratic party and candidates without running to FOX studios.

What can FOX do ? Run videotapes? and spew more biased crap.

So what’s new?

And should they become even more heavy handed then they currently are? (as if that’s possible)...

They’ll just end up marginalizing themselves more.

Report this

By David, March 10, 2007 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s about time the Democrats acted on what is blindingly obvious about Fox News. It is a shameless Republican operation which has no qualms about playing very fast and loose with reality for the specific purpose of boosting Republicans and villifying Democrats.  The goal of engaging with Fox to reach new voters in the southwest was a fool’s quest.  The smartest thing Democrats can do is anything and everything that helps delegitimize this news-values-and-ethics bereft propaganda organ.  We are known (and affected) by the company we keep.  Keep company with legitimate news organizations, and find ways to reach new voters in the southwest that don’t legitimize or in any other way benefit as destructive a broadcaster as Fox News.  Don’t censor them, just turn your back on them, and don’t ever let them get away with any distortion, let alone outright lie.

Report this

By Jackie T. Gabel, March 10, 2007 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Message for Fox President Roger Ailes: If Congressman Obama has anything to do with terrorism, you lot would be as likely as anyone to know, in consideration of FAUX News’ complicity in the 911 Cover Up. So, come clean Ailes! What did you know, and when did you know it?

Report this

By Kim Morrison, March 10, 2007 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Irregardless of the Fox News Presidents comments about Obama, no smart democrat should want anything from or to do with Fox Network any way. Mrs. Clinton should have been the first one to step off the Fox News debate idea. If I recall, they crapped on President Clinton more than any other news agency. Any debate for democrats sponsored soley by Republican tv aka Fox would be for the purpose of finding weaknesses in democratic candidates that the republican party could possibly exploit later. John Edwards did do the right thing here. I am glad there was one democrat out there running that was clever enough to sense the potential snake in the grass here. Well Done!

Report this

By Verne Arnold, March 10, 2007 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OKay, so what was the joke?  Is it an inside secret?  Come on, out with it.

Report this

By Ga, March 10, 2007 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe Democratic leaders are growing spines!

Report this

By kevtao, March 10, 2007 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many times do Democrats and Liberals need a brick bounced off their heads by the likes of the Neocon Nazi Fox channel to realize they are NEVER going to get a “Fair and Balanced” showing from the network run by George Bush’s cousin?! Their days on the top of the ratings are coming to an end. The majority of the public are now aware of their Nazi Propaganda campaign and are tuning elsewhere. If I were a Democratic presidential candidate, I would openly lead a revolt against the Fox channel including protest rallies outside their studios nationwide!

Report this

By Dale Headley, March 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did I actually hear Roger Ailes say, “balanced” without his nose growing a foot long?  Hey, Roger; you want balance?  How about inviting Noam Chomsky, or Gore Vidal, or Mario Cuomo to comment on one of your faux “news” programs without O’Reilly, or Hannity, or Coulter shouting them down and calling them traitors.  That would be true balance.  Don’t count on me holding my breath, though.

Report this

By Quy Tran, March 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ailes’joke was a low class ones. If Ailes wanted to know whose terrorist was he should go to the White House.

Report this

By lawlessone, March 10, 2007 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why does anyone listen to anything originating on the Fox Nausea Channel, otherwise known as the official PR Department for the Republican Party?

[more irreverence at and  Link to them if you like.]

Report this

By Steve Hammons, March 10, 2007 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fox News President Roger Ailes is a graduate of Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. To some students, faculty and alumni, this may be a source of embarassment. Others may be proud.

But Ailes is not the only prominent alum of Ohio U. And many OU alums are in the fields of journalism, broadcasting, film and TV media because OU has one of the top communications, journalism and broadcasting programs in the United States.

These include Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today show; Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune; George Voinovich, U.S. senator and former Ohio governor as well as actors Ed O’Neil, Richard Dean Anderson, Paul Newman and many other distinguished people in the media, government, the military and many other walks of life.

Interestingly, the article below references a poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University that reported a very large percentage of Americans have grave suspicions about the 9/11 attacks.

Did you hear about this poll on Roger Ailes’ Fox News? Probably not.

For more information, see the article referenced below:

“Poll results on 9/11 attacks show many Americans have suspicions”

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
August 4, 2006

Report this

By JohnDWoodSr, March 10, 2007 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll bet there is not one Democrat in the hinterlands who is not breathing a sigh of relief at this decision.You have to wonder if our Democratic leadership is masochistic, to even consider giving themselves up for sacrifice to an outfit like Fox.Fox is nothing more than a collection of talking heads trained to spew the latest “ordure du jour” like a synchronized sphincter team. They should be designated as a Superfund Cleanup Site.

Report this

By JenSonee, March 10, 2007 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

would the socialists go to Joseph Goebbels in 1930 to get their word out?  same thing.

Report this

By Dennis, March 10, 2007 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Dems can surely dish out, but they can’t take it. They are weak on character.

Report this

By C.P.T.L., March 10, 2007 at 8:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Kerry “botched” a joke.  He mis-spoke a joke.  It came out wrong hence, it was “botched.”  “Botched joke” is not a free floating generic political form to be applied at the barest flicker of an opportunity irrespective of meaning just because it sounds cute.  Mr. Ailes meant what he said.  He chose his words.  It was his own humor representing his attitudes, his conception of what is funny and what he believed would be humorous to his audience.  While it may be true that his behavior “botched” things for him and his enterprise, it is absurd to apply the term “botched joke” here.  Absurd and false.

Report this

By James Yell, March 10, 2007 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


In the interest of real news reporting, big media corporations should be broken up and no one owning stock in one should be allowed to own stock in another. The right wing bias of corporations is one reason reporting was so poor in the lead up to invasion Iraq. Real focused reporting on the truth, might have saved our country from invading the only moslem country that didn’t have a hand in 9/11.

Report this

By Mad As Hell, March 10, 2007 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fox/Pravda Noize Net and its fascist minions are going to make up a whole SLEW of Swift-boat lies about the Democrats.
Going to? I mean they already are.

Why give them cover? I suggest that black-balling of Fox/Pravda Noize Net by the entire Democratic party continue from now through Election Day. 

No Democrat speaks at Bob Jones University, or at Jerry Fartwell’s “Liberty” Baptist U.  because they are right-wing propaganda machines.  Nor do they speak to Pat Robertson’s phoney “news” on his 700 network. Fox/Pravda Noize Net is simply another one of the christo-fascist neo-con agit-prop machines.  All anyone who doubts it has to do is look at the clip “Libby acquitted on charge of lying to FBI”...but not posting that he was CONVICTED on 4 charges.

Boycott Fox/Pravda Noize Net and ATTACK (verbally of course) any Re-Thug candidate who appears on it.  I surprise Noize hasn’t already endorsed Sam Brownnose (wait, wait—he’s a christo-rethug. I’ll bet HE’s humping underage boys, then it will be “(Sob!Sob!) I’m a sinner (sniff, sniff) a poor, weak sinner!”)

Report this

By Bert, March 10, 2007 at 12:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, no, you don’t understand, FOX news IS the joke…I’m sure they mean well, but some of the
runaway vitriol you hear on FOX is, well, ignorant, and intolerable. Maybe now that (D)ann is losing her sponsors, people will stop advertising with FOX, too, over content protests.
Money talks, if only it’d tell FOX et. al. to ‘shut up’ LOL. I wonder how long ‘smile’ class is in FOX reporter school? Hmmm….

Report this
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook