Majority of CBC sells out to Fox Noise Channel

Standard

May 23, 2007
Twenty-six members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have signed letters to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) urging them to reconsider their decisions to skip a debate cosponsored by the CBC Institute and Fox News.

 

Last month, under pressure from liberal activists, Obama, Clinton and Edwards, the front-runners in the Democratic presidential primary, announced that they would skip the debate scheduled for September because they consider Fox biased against Democrats.

Obama in particular has had a rocky relationship with Fox. His campaign froze out the conservative-leaning news network for a few weeks after it erroneously reported that Obama had received schooling at a radical madrassa — a Muslim school — during his youth in Indonesia.

Members of the Black Caucus say that by skipping the Fox debate, Obama and other candidates risk missing a chance to share their views on issues important to minority voters that are often given short shrift at other debates.
“Reconsider,” said CBC Institute Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), summing up the letter to Democratic presidential candidates. “Basically, it would be in your best interests to talk to the communities we represent.”

Black Caucus leaders sent the letter to the entire field of Democratic presidential candidates, but the primary targets were Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

The caucus has 43 members from 22 states, who together represent about 40 million Americans, an official with the group said. Seventeen members of the Black Caucus represent districts that are less than 50 percent African-American, said caucus Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who argued that the issues at the debate will also be of interest to other minority constituencies, such as Hispanics.

“It’s not just a black thing,” Kilpatrick said.

Thompson said presidential debates often ignore issues that are important to minority voters.

“Nobody is talking about the disproportionate statistics that we have in this country as it relates to minority population,” Thompson said. “You can look at healthcare, you can look at education, you can look at employment, you can look at housing, you can look at lending. All those [statistics] show a very bad picture for many constituents we represent.

“So we think Democratic and Republican candidates alike should have an opportunity to say what they plan to [do to] level the playing field,” he added.

By framing their decision to skip the debate as a missed opportunity to communicate to an important Democratic constituency, caucus leaders are ratcheting up the political pressure on the Democratic front-runners.

Thompson said that the CBC Institute, not Fox, would set the debate format and select the questions to be asked. He said Fox merely will broadcast the event.

So far, liberal opinion leaders have praised the Democrats’ decision to snub Fox.

Left-leaning columnist E.J. Dionne wrote last month that Democrats were well within their rights.

“Tell me again: Why do Democrats have an obligation to participate in debates on Fox?” Dionne wrote. “I am an avid reader of conservative magazines such as National Review and the Weekly Standard. But if these two publications teamed up to sponsor a Democratic debate, would anyone accuse Edwards, Obama and Clinton of ‘blacklisting’ if the candidates said, ‘no thanks’?”

The pressure may be particularly acute for Obama, who is a member of the Black Caucus. Obama has irked fellow CBC members by failing to respond to a request made early last year that he host a fundraiser for the Black Caucus’s political action committee (PAC). Clinton received a similar invitation and quickly followed through by headlining a CBC PAC fundraiser in March of 2006.

If Obama were to change his mind and attend the debate, it would put pressure on Edwards and Clinton to follow suit. Otherwise, it might look as though they were snubbing African-American voters, an important bloc of the Democratic electorate. For instance, in South Carolina, which will hold the country’s second presidential primary, black voters are expected to make up nearly half of Democratic voters.

The 26 Black Caucus members who signed the letter wrote that they strongly support the debate sponsored by the CBC Institute and Fox. The signatories emphasized that the Black Caucus is separate and distinct from the CBC Institute, but their very action also illustrated the close affinity between the two groups. Four caucus members sit on the institute’s board: Thompson, Kilpatrick, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.).

Thompson and Kilpatrick noted that when the CBC Institute asked cable news networks to air presidential debates it hosted in 2003, only Fox responded. They said the debates drew impressive ratings.

Thompson said loyalty is a factor in the CBC Institute’s decision to stick with Fox. In total, the institute plans to host four presidential debates, two for Democratic candidates and two for Republican candidates. Fox and CNN will split the broadcasting evenly.

“Given the importance that African-Americans and others hear from you on your position on critical issues that affect their lives and the country, we urge your participation,” a Democratic source who described the letter’s conclusion said.

But the debate is not without controversy in the black political community.

“I think what we have are candidates who understand that Fox is a propaganda outlet and not an appropriate place for political discourse to be treated as news,” said James Rucker, the executive director of ColorOfChange.org, who applauded Obama, Clinton and Edwards for skipping the debate. ColorOfChange.org describes itself as an online community of 90,000 Americans dedicated to amplifying the voice of Black America.

19 thoughts on “Majority of CBC sells out to Fox Noise Channel

  1. rikyrah

    As I wrote below:

    I think that those of us who think that Obama, Clinton and Edwards did the right thing, need to drop our own emails and phone calls to them.

    Hillary Clinton
    (202) 224-4451

    Clinton Contact Form

    John Edwards
    Phone: (919) 636-3131
    Fax: (919) 967-3644

    Edwards Contact Form

    Barack Obama
    (202) 224-2854

    Obama Contact Form

    Please let them know that you appreciate them not going to the Faux News Debate, and that you appreciate them going to the Tavis Smiley/PBS Debate in June. Remember, the Tavis Smiley event is a DNC SANCTIONED event; the CBC one is not.

    The CBC wanted to crawl into bed with Faux News. Let them choke on it.

  2. rikyrah


    The caucus has 43 members from 22 states, who together represent about 40 million Americans, an official with the group said. Seventeen members of the Black Caucus represent districts that are less than 50 percent African-American, said caucus Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who argued that the issues at the debate will also be of interest to other minority constituencies, such as Hispanics.

    “It’s not just a black thing,” Kilpatrick said.

    You don’t worry about the HISPANICS, Rep. Kilpatrick. They’ve already got a network that will tackle THEIR issues – UNIVISION.

    Like any Hispanics are going to tune into a debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, looking for their issues to be discussed.

    Puleeze.

    They KILL me with this mess. You’re the Congressional BLACK Caucus, and these debates are supposed to be about concerns of the BLACK community. But, of course, getting into bed with the White Citizens Council Network sort of defeats that purpose.

    And, considering what happened at the LAST farce you had with the WCCNetwork, just exactly WHY are folks supposed to trust that this time will be any different?

    Like I said.

    $(&# ’em.

  3. Rick: Do we have any reason at this point to suspect that Gore will throw his hat in this thing? I’m hoping that you’ll say yes. I must admit that I’m all tapped out of hope when it comes to a Gore/Obama ticket.

  4. Rick

    “Rick: Do we have any reason at this point to suspect that Gore will throw his hat in this thing?” — Angie

    Only the speculative aspirations voiced by the media, but nothing more than that. It’s all speculative.

    Angie, I had a thought today. I think one of the reasons Gore didn’t challenge the 2000 election results through the Supreme Court is because he didn’t want to through the Constitutional crisis, especially this idea about having a relatively disruption-free transition of power.

    I’m wondering: if he would have known that George Bush would was thrown our country into a constitutional crisis anyway, would he have challenged the results more forcefully? That specific question is academic…but the deeper underlying question is not academic. And that is this:

    What are our “leaders” prepared to do to protect us from those who would abuse their power? I’m hearing the Democrats in Congress are about to cave in to Bush on Iraq. I’m like #@#…who is willing to take a stand? who is willing to stand firm? Is anyone? Is there not a cause??

  5. Rick

    ps- even former President Carter backtracked on his statements against Bush earlier this week. It’s all a little demoralizing!

  6. NMP

    If only there was a time machine to ship these negros back to the plantation where they obviously transported from!

    Rick,

    Gore is definitely running! Three clear indicators are his weight loss; refusal to give compliments to any of the current candidates (eventhough he’s been advising Obama on his energy policy); and attack on all of the senatorial candidates (including Edwards but excluding Obama) on their indefensible susceptibility to manipulation on the war, which is particularly targeted at Clinton who wants to make the diametrically opposed argument that she’s best equipped to be President because of her previous years in the WH as First Lady but all the while argue that she was “manipulated” on the war. Gore (and Obama as of last week) are going to press her to explain why such an “advantage” didn’t give her any added insight into evaluating the false evidence that Bush presented. It’s a question of judgement not experience. We’ll hear that question being asked, by both, more and more and put to comparison of Cheney and Rumsfeld, both of whom had unparalleled experience BUT poor judgement. Look for a Gore/Obama ticket!

  7. NMP

    Rick,

    He exhausted his legal challenges; there was nothing more he could do. And let’s not forget he ran one of the most inept and timid capaigns in presidential history. Yes, Bush stole FL, but it shouldn’t have been that close. Rule 1: Win your home state! Nonetheless, he would be a better candidate today because of the 2000 election and the subsequent failures of the Bush administration. But in no way am I on the Gore bandwagon. He may have been right about the illogic of this particular war, but he’s still a pro-military and centrist.

  8. Rick

    “Look for a Gore/Obama ticket!”

    I’m looking, NMP, I’m looking🙂 Very good points! (LOL re: weight factor)

    I guess it goes without saying that Gore would headline this hypothetical ticket. I could go with that order since that would set Obama up nicely for 2016! By then, I’m estimating there will be other black candidates (perhaps the current Gov of Mass) — not that they would run against an incumbemt VP though.

    “But in no way am I on the Gore bandwagon. He may have been right about the illogic of this particular war, but he’s still a pro-military and centrist.”

    NMP: I understand you about the centrist part (mostly because it seems the entire party has shifted rightward over the last two decades) but I’m not sure I follow you when you say Gore is “pro-military”. He doesn’t strike me as such, but I could be missing something. Certainly the Clinton/Gore Administration saw us active in Somalia and Bosnia…are you extrapolating from that or something else. I’m may be missing some other remarks he’s made…

  9. NMP

    Rick/Angie,

    It’s only subjective, but I base my opinion of Gore’s pro-military stance on his consistent policy of military intervention over diplomacy as US Senator and Vice President. Not only did the Clinton/Gore Administration see us active in Somalia and Bosnia, as you say, but Gore lead the charge in convincing Clinton to act militarily in Bosnia. Previously, he broke ranks with the Democratic Party in supporting the first Iraq War. He was a chief supporter of regime change in Iraq going as far as to call Saddam Hussein’s Iraq a “virulent threat in a class by itself,” which was bit dramatic. Just as Clinton picked Gore as his running mate to beef up his military cred’s, Gore picked Lieberman who, like him, supported strong defense policies. Again, only my humble subjective opinion.

    You all have a great holiday weekend!

  10. I do not blame Obama for not allowing the CBC prostitute him. The bigger question would be what have they done for their constituents in their States, and for minority constituents in the U.S.

    If I were Obama I would run as fast as I could away from the CBC who did not support him when he first expressed interest, and the possibility to run for President. All of them have been caught up in Corporate Prostitution and have taken bribes as William Jefferson, and not one of them have come to his defense.

    CBC has outlived its purpose as the NAACP, SCLC, Rainbow/Push Coalition, Baby Daddy Jackson, and Al Thurman Sharpton.

    1916 the Dutch introduce slavery to Jamestown and 388 years later slavery is still very much alive in many States by a Constitution that is not worth the paper that it is written on. All of our people are locked behind bars in jails and prisons and a niggroe have the nerve to say that they are free. The majority of Niggroes in the Southern States have been criminalized and can’t vote how can a niggroe claim freedom?

    Police Brutality and Misconduct has ran wild in Urban America.
    Judicial and Prosecutorial injustice
    ACLU handcuffed parents so the police could handcuff our children.
    If we can’t beat them they must stop beating the s___ out of them.
    Bush no child left behind is B___S___!
    Teenage Pregnancy, Aids and STD’s is at the top of the Roof.
    What has your CBC done for you lately?

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