Michael Tomasky argues for a boycott:
[I]f you’re any kind of liberal at all, even in the softest and most non-political possible sense, [going on Fox is] basically an indefensible thing to do. Fox News wants liberalism to perish from the face of the earth. Going on their air on a regular basis and lending your name and reputation to their ideological razzle-dazzle is like agreeing to be the regular kulak guest columnist at Pravda in 1929. For “balance.”
Yes, there are shows where the host or the format makes it fruitless to express a dissenting view, and there are pundits who end up playing the Washington Generals to their ideological opponents’ Harlem Globetrotters. But trying to avoid being Alan Colmes isn’t the same as writing off Fox News’ audience entirely, and giving up any attempt at communicating with them directly, because the network as a whole is too congenial to conservatives. And again, to what end? Is liberalism any better off now that Juan Williams “got what was coming to him” for going on Fox in the first place? Aren’t Fox News’s millions of viewers considerably less likely to have their assumptions challenged now that one of the network’s more liberal commentators has a highly personal reason to drift rightward, or at least hold a grudge against the left? Indeed, doesn’t this imbroglio just guarantee that both NPR listeners and Fox News watchers will find themselves wound a little tighter in their respective ideological cocoons?
I agree with Tomasky. The point is surely that the only "liberals" allowed on Fox News are the ones designed to buttress the "conservative" worldview. Until that changes, why bother? When Fox has any program hosted by a former or potential Democratic presidential nominee, or a leading actual smart lefty, liberals can end their boycott. Several GOP politicians - from Huckabee to Palin to Kasich - have had their own shows. How can you even begin to claim to be "fair and balanced" when that imbalance is so pronounced?
Just as important, it seems to me is if Fox could give, say, Ron Paul his own show, and actually allow an internal conservative debate about issues, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, or foreign policy, or the social issues, such as abortion, or even have a supporter of gay equality who isn't an easily dismissed leftist stereotype on prime time - like a Jon Rauch or a Ted Olson? Why not give Frum a show to counter the party line with smart conservative policy proposals and discussions? What's needed on Fox - and what you'll never see - is solid conservative attacks on and critiques of other conservatives, on matters of principle or policy. That's the difference between an opinion channel and a propaganda channel.
They are a propaganda channel. Until they change, I see no reason any liberal should appear on them. And the first test of when they change from spewing partisan propaganda will be if they even allow conservative debate of any genuine kind.
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