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
Fox News Political Programs
400 N Capitol Street NW, Suite 550
Washington DC 20001
DELIVERED VIA FAX AND EMAIL
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.
Chairman, Nevada State Democratic Party