Wallace Asks Dean Why Democrats Are Suddenly Coming on Fox
Have you considered the delicious hypocrisy of Democrat presidential candidates that months ago refused to participate in debates sponsored by Fox News now practically lining up to appear on the cable news channel?
Chris Wallace certainly has, and on the most recent installment of "Fox News Sunday," asked Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean about this sudden change of heart by folks who just months ago were depicting the station as too biased to bother with.
What follows is a partial transcript of this segment (video embedded right):
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Governor, not to say that we’ve been counting, but it has been nineteen months since you’ve appeared here or on any Fox program. How do you explain the fact that in less than a week—and we’re very happy to have you—Governor Dean and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have all shown up on Fox?
HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, first of all, your audience is important to us. There’s…a lot of your audience are working class Democrats, the kind of people who will vote either way and we’d like them to vote Democrat.
Stop the tape. What kind of nonsense is this? FNC's audience is important to Democrats? A lot of FNC's audience are working class Democrats? Well, then why did they boycott the debates sponsored by this network?
After Dean switched the subject to McCain, Wallace tried to get him back on track:
WALLACE: Governor, again, I’m going to bring you back. We give you plenty of time to bash McCain. The left wing of your party is in a snit, over all these Democrats appearing on Fox. In fact, the head of MoveOn.org had this to say about Democrats on Fox: “It legitimizes a right-wing network that is going to use that celebrity to smear them—the Democrats–in the general election.” He and the head of the DailyKos are using words about you guys showing up here as “weak”, “idiotic”, “stupid.” How do you respond to the left wing?
DEAN: What I say is this: we stayed off Fox for a long time because your news department is in fact biased. But Chris, you haven’t been. We’ve always…you’ve always been tough, but I always thought fair and I still think that’s true. And we need to communicate with people who are going to vote in the Democratic Party. Hundreds of thousands of Republicans have turned their back on their own party to vote in the Democrat primaries in the last six months. We owe it to all the American people to reach out to those folks. So this is not about Fox News, that’s not why I’m here today. I’m out because I want to talk to your viewers directly about why this election is important and what we can offer the American people.
Stop the tape. Once again, then why boycott the Fox debates in the first place?
Sadly, the answer is -- and clearly one that neither Dean nor any Democrat will ever admit -- that when the boycott decision was made, the Democrats thought Hillary was a lock to win the nomination, and on a virtually unobstructed path to the White House. At the time, they didn't believe they needed the millions of FNC viewers.
Alas, now that the Democrats are facing a potentially disastrous nomination process and fractious convention, voters that watch FNC are suddenly important. Of course, Dean wasn't going to admit that:
WALLACE: And let me ask you, and obviously it’s always about the millions of people who watch these shows. Looking back, do you think it was a mistake for the Democratic party to boycott Fox debates and all the other programs during the last year, and thereby boycott getting your message out to the millions of people who watch?
DEAN: No, I think it was the right thing to do because there are some things in the news department that really have been shockingly biased. And I think that’s wrong. And I’ll just say so right up front, but it is important also for us to not…we shouldn’t punish the viewers of Fox by staying away. Now those viewers have had an opportunity to look at the debates on other channels, now they’re going to have an opportunity viewing on this channel and I think that’s fair.
Translation: we're sorry to FNC viewers for boycotting you, but we desperately want your votes now.
Hopefully, to paraphrase Rev. Wright, the chickens have come home to roost, and Fox viewers will treat Democrats as courteously as Democrats have treated them for the past twelve months.