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The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Catch Up To The Cable Game

Written By mista sense on Friday, May 2, 2008 | 10:42 AM




The Cable Game believes that both Brian Stelter and Matea Gold are excellent TV reporters, for The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, respectively. So it's not their fault if I beat them!

Both Gold and Stelter both deserve lots of credit for their pair of stories, "Democrats and Fox News Make Friends," and "Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton embrace Fox News."

Hats off to both Gold and Stelter. But this Cable Gamer is doffing her cap, too, because I was all over this story on Wednesday! It's quite possible, of course, that both Gold and Stelter had the idea at the same time as me, or maybe even before, but thanks to the miraculous nature of blogospheric communication, this humble no-frills no editor website beat both of those august, albeit faltering, broadsheets.

But without a doubt, Gold and Stelter both pushed the story forward. As Gold put it, a year ago, FNC "was considered a pariah" by some Democrats, but now, things have changed:

"Fox has given Hillary Clinton better coverage than all the other cables," Clinton campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe said during a radio interview last week with Fox News' John Gibson.

Of course, the far left is furious:

"It legitimizes a right-wing network that is going to use that credibility to smear them in the general election," said Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org. "They're doing this because it helps them in the short term, but we all know it hurts them in the long term."

Well, we all know that the far left hates Fox, but it would seem clear that the Moveon-ites have shot their wad. In calling Hillary Clinton a "racist"--an absurd charge by the way--the left forced Hillary to look elsewhere for votes, away from her traditional base in the far-left feminist left. And when Hillary moved to the center, she started winning states--Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania. And so then Obama had to move to the middle, too. It wasn't a race to the bottom, as the lefty mag The Nation magazine put it, it was a race to middle. Sorry, lefties!

As Stelter explained, the Democratic candidates are simply, uh, hunting--yes, plenty of Democrats are gun-lovers!--for the biggest clusters of political "ducks":

“It’s probably true that we appeal to white working-class voters,” said Brit Hume, the network’s Washington managing editor and the host of “Special Report.” “The candidates are going where the voters are.”

But don't take Hume's word for it. The proof is the footing--the Democrats are footing over to Fox, where nobody on the payroll has ever said "God Damn America."

Some say, of course, that this is just a temporary relationship, between FNC and top Dems. More precisely, many on the left are hoping that this is just a temporary relationship. And maybe it is, although by most accounts Obama gave one of his effective interviews ever to Chris Wallace last Sunday (pictured above).

But if Hillary and Obama conclude that Fox can be helpful in winning inside a Democratic primary, how will they regard Fox in a general election? When swing voters, "Reagan Democrats," really really matter?

Yet to be heard from, of course, are the far-right conservatives, and how they might react to Clinton and Obama's moves to the center. As Bill O'Reilly has observed, some on the right are so blinded by hostility that they can't even so progress when it is being achieved.

And, in fact, it's progress when news audiences get to hear all points of view, and then, with the guide of honest (albeit oftentimes opinionated) reporters and experts, those auds get to make up their own mind.

That's the American Way. And Fox, Obama, and Clinton are all doing their part in the great deliberative process of democracy. At least for now!

UPDATE: And now I see that Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is going to be on "Fox News Sunday"--the liberal blockade is really crumbling.

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