by Taylor Marsh
One hell of a dust devil has kicked up around Fox "News" hosting the Nevada presidential debate.
The Carson City Democrats have rejected Fox. John Edwards is the only candidate so far to refuse to participate. Bill Richardson has accepted. Barack Obama will make his decision soon, with Hillary to follow, no doubt. Biden hasn't spoken yet, with Kucinich wanting any attention he can get, no doubt. I understand, but it's wrong.
Now Dan Manatt's PoliticsTV, which was invited to broadcast the debate over the web, has turned down Fox's terms. No wonder, because they were not fair or balanced. Fox's terms were wholly undemocratic.
... But today we rejected FOX News' terms because it was totally unfair, and totally unbalanced.
As we said elsewhere, FOX's offer was as one-sided as the O'Reilly Factor.
FOX was requiring PTV to carry the debate only as a live webcast, and not post any clips from the debate in archival or other form. FOX wanted a monopoly on the video on demand version of the debate - which is the touchstone of PTV. FOX block PTV from posting clips after the debate, and literally wanted to own the debate.
PTV's got news for FOX. No one owns the presidential campaign. No one owns presidential debates. And as Rupert Murdoch himself has advocated, broadcasters who license - not own - the airwaves should spread democracy freely as a public service, not try to hoard it like a monopoly.
FOX News evidently doesn't get the Web, the First Amendment, or Democracy. America's founders, and the Internet's founders, wanted their creations to be wide open, transparent, belonging to everyone, monopolized by no one. Despite their purchase of MySpace, FOX and News Corp have a lot to learn about the Net.
Good for John Edwards, Carson City Dems and PoliticsTV. On another note, not so good for the Congressional Black Caucus, but that's a whole 'nother battle.
Meanwhile, the guy at the top of the Nevada Fox decision wants us all to just shut the hell up about Fox. Democracy in action, Nevada style.
Call Harry Reid and tell him that Fox "News" is a no go: 202-224-3542. If you happen to live in Nevada: 1-866-736-7343.
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