Dean helping Dems with stab in the back?

Guest post by Matt Stoller.

What is this, stab a progressive in the back day? Here's an update on the Fox News fight.
The reason, according to an online letter MoveOn sent to 2 million of its members Thursday, is that "Fox is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel. The Democratic Party of Nevada should drop Fox as its partner for the presidential primary debate." Joining the chorus Thursday was liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald, the director of the anti-Fox film, "Outfoxed," who released a video online of Fox's coverage of Democratic candidates.
But the Nevada party organizers -- and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean -- said Thursday that while they may not think much of Fox's reporting, they want to reach out to viewers of the largest cable news network, one with double the number of prime-time viewers of CNN. And one whose believability is much higher with Republicans than Democrats, according to a 2005 study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
The 50 state strategy does not mean ratifying a right-wing propaganda outlet as a legitimate news source. Seriously, this is ridiculous. Howard Dean is now defending Fox News, along with the Democratic parties of Arizona, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico, and Harry Reid is out there pretending that he has no role in all of this when one phone call from his office could make this go away.

There are three possibilities. One, someone in the Nevada state Democratic Party is embarrassed and doesn't want to 'fold' and the rest of the machine is too stupid to make them. Two, Reid is behind this, and genuinely believes that going on Fox News, a channel that regularly describes Democratic leaders as traitors and regularly lies about the major Presidential candidates, is a good way to reach out to Republicans. Three, the Nevada State Democratic Party is getting money from Fox News to put this debate on.

I didn't expect this to get hostile, since apparently these people are our friends and keep talking about how wonderful the netroots and the grassroots are. Maybe it's all a big misunderstanding, but seriously, this is crazy. You don't show respect to people who make up lies about you and your friends.  That's weakness, not outreach.

And yes, every time Fox News slimes a Democrat, this is going to get thrown in our face.

UPDATE: Apparently Dean ageed with us, until he didn't. In June of 2005, here's Howard Dean: ""My view is that Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party and that I don't comment on Fox News." The response drew applause from the room." (hat tip faithfull - link rot has set in, here's a Dkos diary that quotes the article)

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