Nevada Democrats call off Fox debate
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Published: Friday March 9, 2007
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The Nevada State Democratic Party has decided to cancel its partnership with the Fox News Channel in a Democratic primary debate scheduled for August 14, reports The Politico.

The Nevada State Democratic Party, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who represents Nevada in the U.S. Senate, had received increasing pressure from progressive groups and bloggers to reconsider the decision to co-brand the event with Fox, citing the network's repeated Republican slant and its habit of smearing Democratic leaders.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) on Wednesday decided to skip the debate, after being questioned on the matter by Daily Kos blogger Markos Zuniga. Other candidates were questioned but did not make an immediate decision.

Fox News Channel chairman Roger Ailes on Thursday urged leaders to resist calls to boycott the debate in an acceptance speech at a Radio-Television News Directors Foundation award ceremony, reported MediaBistro.com. "Any candidate for high office of either party who believes he can blacklist any news organization is making a terrible mistake about journalists," said Ailes. "And any candidate of either party who cannot answer direct, simple, even tough questions from any journalist runs a real risk of losing the voters."

Ailes also received criticism for making a joke that compared Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to a terrorist in the same speech. Said Ailes, "And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?'"

Following the news of the Nevada party's decision, Zuniga thanked Ailes for his comments. "A big 'thank you', btw, to Roger Ailes, who probably sealed the fate of his debate last night by trashing Obama as a terrorist, making a bad joke about Bill's infidelities to Hillary, and threatened Edwards for dropping out," Zuniga wrote on his blog. "This decision may not have been made today without Ailes showing his (and by extension, his network's) true colors."

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