Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly has compared people who oppose participating in Fox News’ presidential debates to Nazis, claiming they “lie, distort, defame, all the time” using “propaganda techniques perfected by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of information.” Fellow Fox News anchor Mort Kondracke claimed they are “not about free speech” and guilty of “junior grade Stalinism.”
This hysteria continued last night, when Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch co-hosted an awards show for opinion writing. During the event, Ailes “had some choice words for Democratic candidates who have decided not to debate on Fox.”
“The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda,” said Mr. Ailes. “And that’s what’s coming.”
That was followed by applause from the crowd which featured several News Corp. executives and journalists from Murdoch-owned papers — Richard Johnson, the Post’s Page Six editor, for one.
Can there be any doubt left why presidential candidates don’t want to endorse Fox News?
The issue, of course, isn’t that presidential candidates — including Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson — are afraid of appearing on Fox. The issue is whether they want to legitimize this constant source of partisan misinformation by allowing Fox to claim that it is a real news source that can independently manage a presidential debate.