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GOP debate: Fox to blame for pathetic candidates?

With Ben Smith's report in Politico today about the latest Fox News ruling for contributors who would be candidates, and the pitiful field of contenders actually debating on Fox tonight, I am re-posting a piece I wrote two weeks ago.

One of the things it asks is how much blame Roger Ailes and Fox News deserve for getting so involved in GOP politics by signing all but one or two legitimate GOP candidates to cable-channel contributor agreements.

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I think Fox deserves a lot of blame for blowing up legitimate barriers between media covering politics and media controlling politics -- and this at the presidential level. And why don't commentators like Charles Krauthammer speak out?

Here's my post from April 23. Read it as you watch the sorry crew called Republican candidates debating tonight on Fox. Think any of them is anything but laughable as an opponent of President Obama? Wouldn't it be a new level of ironic if Fox News and Ailes wound being responsible in major ways for President Obama cruising to four more years in the White House?

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But, of course, Fox News has done nothing except make more arbitrary rulings and then selectively leak those rulings to reporters and critics who they think will play ball and try to favorably spin for the home team.

So, why are we hearing about an alleged May 1 ruling from Fox News on May 5? Is it because we might be confused if we saw someone like, say, Santorum on the screen tonight in the debate and wondered why his status as a Fox employee hasn't been clarified? And if he is a candidate and a such a ruling came down on May 1, why didn't he share that with voters? Was it because he is still beholden to Fox News for airtime and he only announmces what Fox News says he can announce?

And what's the deal again on Huckabee and Palin? (Not that anyone is screaming for Palin to be a candidate these days. Maybe she sold herself too cheap to Fox News and TLC -- and now she's nothing but another cable TV huckster instead of a legitimate candidate.)

The only good thing Ailes has done is show us what money-grubbing moral midgets some of these candidates are -- willing to serve Fox News and take their marching order from Ailes for $500,000 or $1 million a year rather than make a run for the White House.

I guess public service isn't what it used to be when you have a cable channle with an open checkbook and a clear political agenda that has nothing to do with journalism.

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