Tom Collins: STFU

This is great.

In an interview, Collins said he hopes the measures will put the debate over the Fox event to rest, and that activists will now concentrate their efforts on helping both Democratic candidates and the Nevada caucus.

"People need to find something else to talk about," Collins said. "If this much energy gets put into getting a Democrat into the White House, I guarantee it will happen."

So Collins is a concern troll.

UPDATE: Here's Dan Manatt of PoliticsTV explaining why he's rejecting the deal from Fox News.

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Nevada Dems to Party Leaders: No

Taylor's got the resolution that passed yesterday.

Carson City Democratic Central Committee
March 7, 2007

WHEREAS, Fox News is not a neutral source of news - it's a right-wing mouthpiece like Rush Limbaugh that smears Democrats and spreads blatantly false information; and

WHEREAS, Democrats granting Fox News the illusion of credibility would allow Fox to more easily "swiftboat" our 2008 candidates by pushing false Republican attacks into the mainstream media; and

WHEREAS, everyone supports reaching out to new people, but 1 day of Fox coverage is not worth legitimizing Fox's misinformation the other 364 days a year; and

WHEREAS, plenty of better alternatives exist to Fox News - in Nevada, MSNBC plus its NBC affiliates, for example, get approximately double the viewers of Fox cable plus its local affiliates; and

WHEREAS, we believe that Democrats need to fight back against Fox News and the right-wing smear machine in the 2008 election cycle--not enable it.

BE IT RESOLVED, the Carson City Democratic Central Committee opposes the proposal to let Fox News host a Democratic presidential debate and strongly urges the Nevada Democratic Party to drop that proposal.

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More Opaque Arrogance from Harry Reid and Tom Collins

Last week, Moveon offered the Nevada Democratic Party a compromise on the debate - the debate would be co-hosted and co-branded by Air America.  This would have addressed our concern that Fox News was being validated as a neutral news outlet.  In response, the Nevada Democratic Party leadership suggested that inviting one progressive voice onto the panel would be acceptable, with no co-branding involved.  This obviously missed the point and would not address the concerns of Democrats who are constantly slimed by a supposedly neutral Fox News.  

Since we started this conversation, other sordid details have emerged.  The executive board of the Democratic Party was not consulted on this decision, Harry Reid has been silent, and no one will take responsibility for this decision.  Based on pressure from John Edwards and grassroots Democrats, Harry Reid is now feeling pressure because the debate is falling apart, so he's now pretending to be concerned about a decision that he in all likelihood made himself.

And so, Tom Collins offered publicly the same exact deal that was rejected last week, a deal that still validates Fox News as a neutral news outlet.  Collins addressed none of our concerns, was completely non-transparent about the decision, and is continuing to poison the Nevada Democratic Party with poor decisions.  Only three union leaders and only two executive board members backed this choice.  Even Harry Reid is now rhetorically backing away.

This is a really sad and pathetic spectacle.  This campaign didn't happen because a few people were mad at Fox News.  This is an organic argument from hundreds of thousands of Democrats who feel that validating Fox News and its partisan disinformation campaign as a neutral news outlet cuts against our core values.  And John Edwards (and other candidates in all likelihood) agree with this assessment.  

This is really quite outrageous behavior from both Tom Collins and Harry Reid.  Fox News is not a neutral news outlet, and it shouldn't be treated as such.  And it's pretty clear that these people are offering Nevada Democrats and activists nothing but bad faith nonsense.  They are willing to scuttle the opportunity for a real debate about the future of the country rather than admit that what hundreds of thousands of Democrats believe is important.

Once again, please call Reid's offices and ask him to not legitimize Fox News as a neutral news outlet.  If you are not in Nevada, use this number: 202-224-3542 / Fax: 202-224-7327

If you live in Nevada, use this number, which is restricted to 775 and 702 area codes: 1-866-SEN-REID (736-7343)

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Fox-Nevada Fight: Consequences for smash-mouth politics

The stakes in Nevada are bigger than I have heard anyone articulate, so far. If we can scuttle the Fox debate, we will be setting a precedent. No other state Democratic party or progressive institution will try to partner with Fox in the future for a debate after witnessing the spectacle of the national netroots/grassroots/party activists joining with local Nevada democrats to shut it down.
For a long time now Fox has played smash-mouth politics with the Democrats on an unfair playing field with little or no consequence. Now we have an opportunity to hand Fox a defeat, and one that will pay back for a long time.
It's just as good a victory if the candidates themselves boycott the debate (props to Edwards), but I think we'll get a more effective long-term result if we keep up the pressure and the crticism on the Nevada party and Harry Reid to get rid of Fox, and they do it.
We will also be setting a precedent in the general election: No debates hosted by Fox News, period. Non-negotiable. However we win this fight, we will have to keep active later in the cycle to ensure that Democrats don't backslide in the general.

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Why is Reid Protecting Fox News?

I'm told that tomorrow morning at 11:45am, the executive board has been summoned to conference call with Chairman Tom Collins of the Nevada State Democratic Party.  It's going to be interesting to see where the discussion is at this point; clearly the Nevada folks are under a lot of pressure.  Honestly, though, this is very puzzling.  Here's Markos with an update from the Presidential campaign perspective.  Blogpac has held off on going there, because we wanted to start with a dialogue with Democrats in Nevada.

I've asked several campaigns whether they plan on attending the Fox News debate in Nevada. I've started collecting responses, and expect to post them tomorrow. I can say off the bat that the question clearly has campaigns conflicted. It's not a position they want to be in, and I'm sure they're cursing whoever it was that negotiated the deal with Fox News. (That Democratic Party decision maker, by the way, is still secret. Everyone claims they don't know who signed the deal.)

The campaigns could make things easier for themselves by just stating, en masse, that they won't do a Fox News debate, but that they'll be happy to debate in Nevada with another media partner.

The issue here isn't to screw over Nevada or its Dems (it's a state where we should be far more competitive, and will be in the next few cycles), and to deprive them of a close look at the field.

The issue is to deprive the right wing's premier propaganda outlet an easy opportunity to take cheap shots at our guys.

The smart campaigns will look for an alternate venue from which to communicate to Nevada's Democratic primary voters.

This whole episode is puzzling.  No one is taking responsibility for this decision.  I don't believe that Tom Collins, the outgoing Chair of the Party in Nevada, did this on his own.  There's some backbone here, a willingness to reject our arguments and those from Democratic grassroots activists in Nevada.  The heads of the Professional Firefighters, the Nevada AFL-CIO, and the Culinary workers chimed in on behalf of Fox News.  Various state parties, working to build an alliance of Western states, backed the decision.

Mike Zahara, a Democrat on the executive board, has come out and represented the tremendous dissatisfaction on the ground among Nevada Democrats.  Other Nevada unions - important ones - have stayed silent, and it's probably the case that it is only the union leadership that weighed in on the decision.

Throughout all of this, Reid has stayed silent.  There is simply no way that he isn't aware of what's going on.  While it is likely that he had something to do with this debate in the first place (a Presidential forum in his home state), it's undeniable that he has allowed this to go on as long as it has.  He's not even saying that this is a state party matter, just that he personally did not negotiate the deal.  I can't believe that the union muscle, the secrecy, and the closed ranks are something that Reid would allow to go on unless he has some major part in this debacle.  Perhaps there are furious behind-the-scenes discussions going on, and he's annoyed to be dragged into this.  Maybe Fox News has something on him, though I would find that unlikely as well.  Maybe he's hoping for better coverage for his reelection in 2010, or maybe he's just a conservative Democrat who doesn't get the pernicious role of Fox News.  Maybe there's money involved.  Honestly, I don't know.  It could be a mistake that the Nevada Democrats are in the midst of fixing in a somewhat clumsy and opaque manner.

Tomorrow we'll learn more.

Update (Chris): Edwards to skip Fox News debate. Fantastic! This is a very good start.

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