Fox News' Newt Gingrich is in the throes of yet another will-he-won't-he presidential kabuki dance, having recently announced that there is absolutely no way he would participate in a Republican presidential debate moderated by Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann because the MSNBC hosts "were so relentlessly hostile and they were so left-wing" to Republicans during the last debate they hosted (even though Olbermann has never moderated a Republican debate, and Matthews was anything but "hostile" during the last one he hosted). Gingrich asked: "Well why would we participate in that?"
As it just so happens, there's an answer to that question: You participate in that debate because if you don't, you're a coward who's just like Stalin and/or the Nazis. At least, that was the answer given by Gingrich's Fox News colleagues three years ago when the Democratic presidential candidates boycotted a Fox News-sponsored debate.
Here's what Bill O'Reilly had to say on March 12, 2007 [via Nexis]:
The Soros-Lewis mob despises FOX News because we have their number and report on them accurately. They use the MoveOn website to smear this network and others with whom they disagree.
These people use propaganda techniques perfected by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of information. They lie, distort, defame all the time.
So it's not surprising that MoveOn objected to a debate sponsored by FOX News and the Nevada Democratic party. MoveOn immediately tried to boycott the August event and persuaded John Edwards to drop out.
That was simply stupid. FOX News has sponsored a number of debates in the past, all of them fair and balanced. And Edwards has appeared on this network more than 30 times with no complaint.
And here's Beltway Boys hosts Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes on March 11, 2007 [via Nexis]:
KONDRACKE: OK, down: John Edwards. He's once again folding under pressure from the far-left liberal bloggers, this time by refusing to debate fellow Democrats at a FOX News-sponsored forum in Nevada this summer.
Now this tells you a lot, FOX or no FOX. This tells you a lot about what the MoveOn.org, Daily Kos kind of left-wing liberals are all about. I mean, they are not in favor of free speech and free debate if FOX, you know, was embarrassingly right wing or something like that, it would be plain for all to see. They just want to stop any of their -- any Democrats from participating in this, because -- because it is a FOX thing. And they're willing to - to intimidate them to do it.
I -- you know, this is junior-grade Stalinism on their part.
BARNES: All right. I -- I agree.
But perhaps the best quote of all came from Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in June 2007:
"I've been quoted as saying, 'This is a great country.' A lot of people are trying to get in, nobody's trying to get out. The press is an essential pillar of that democracy. The press didn't invent democracy. Democracy invented freedom of the press. So we will investigate anything and find the truth, and report it, but we do not get up every morning, assuming that our country is guilty. We just happen to like democracy."
And he 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."