March 29, 2007 PRESS RELEASE from the CBC Institute  (see also related releases below)

CONTACT: Candice Tolliver

CBC Institute Presidential Primary Debates to Reach Broad Audience;
FOX News to Broadcast two Debates

Washington, D.C.– Today, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute (CBC Institute) announced that it has reached an agreement with the FOX News Channel to broadcast two (2) of the four (4) presidential primary debates it will sponsor for the 2008 election. The first debate broadcast by FOX News will be among Democratic candidates and will take place on September 23, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The second debate will be among Republican candidates and is scheduled for the fall of 2007 at a location to be determined. Additionally, the CBC Institute will work with cable news network CNN to broadcast two debates.

In making this announcement, CBC Institute Board Chair U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said, "As a leading organization dedicated to educating the
public on issues of national policy, the CBC Institute is committed to presenting the presidential candidates to the broadest audience possible.”

Thompson added, "Our goal with each debate is to provide a platform that will allow voters to hear the positions of candidates from both political parties. Collaborating with FOX News provides an opportunity to take this presidential election to millions of households.”

FOX News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes added, “FOX News is proud to work with the CBC Institute in 2007 as we did in 2003 to present these two key debates which will provide a special forum for the candidates to present their ideas and allow voters to make informed decisions.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said, “I am pleased that FOX News will broadcast
two CBC Institute debates and especially honored that the Institute will host a debate in Detroit.”

She continued, “America needs strong leadership. We must educate and empower voters to select a candidate who will improve healthcare, create jobs and invest
in education. These debates will help the public examine issues critical to our future and choose the candidate they believe will best serve as president.”

The Presidential Debate Program is one of several initiatives sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute (CBC
Institute), a nonprofit organization designed to train and educate African Americans and others on key issues of national policy. The CBC Institute also commissions policy research, holds conferences and symposia, and conducts a political education and campaign training program. Founded in 2000, the CBC Institute is governed by a board of directors comprised of individuals from academia, business, labor and elective office including members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Its activities are undertaken on a non-partisan basis. For more information visit

FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, entertainment and business news. For five years, FNC has been the most watched cable news channel in the nation and currently presents 9 out of the top 10 programs in cable news. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 85 million homes.


PRESS RELEASE from John Edwards for President

For Immediate Release
April 6, 2007

Kate Bedingfield

Edwards Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince Statement on Edwards' Decision Not to Participate in Fox Debate

Chapel Hill, North Carolina - John Edwards for President Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince released the following statement today on Senator Edwards' decision not to participate in the Fox debate.

"We just called the CBC to let them know that we're looking forward to their debate with CNN but we're not going to participate in the proposed debate with Fox. There's just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending to be objective. If there was any uncertainty as to Fox's objectivity, it was put to rest when they attacked Democratic candidates, Democratic constituency groups, and the Nevada Democratic Party when their last proposed debate was cancelled for lack of support.  The CBC champions critical issues that matter enormously to the future of our country, and they deserve to be discussed in a forum that will give those issues - and Democrats - a fair hearing."


PRESS RELEASE from Kucinich for President 2008, Inc.
May 29, 2007

Kucinich to appear in Congressional Black Caucus/Fox debate

Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said Sunday he would definitely participate in a September debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and scheduled to be broadcast on the Fox Television Network. Kucinich said for Sens. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama to skip the debate simply because it was to be broadcast on Fox was a snub of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“This is particularly troublesome because the concerns of African Americans should take precedent over what network is broadcasting the debate,” Kucinich said, “There are matters relating to employment, health care, education, jobs, rebuilding our cities, environment and civil rights that all presidential candidates have an obligation to address and debate. Those candidates planning to skip this debate clearly are trying to avoid a forum where there will be hard-hitting questions from people who may not agree with them. But taking questions from all sides is part of politics, and part of being President. I'm running to be President for all people in this country.”

“America needs a President with the ability and willingness to unite people of diverse political views,” Kucinich said, “Let us never forget that the symbol of our country, the American eagle, needs two wings to fly — a left wing and a right wing. I'm prepared to reach out to all Americans. We all deserve to be heard. and we all deserve to be represented.”

“Certainly many Fox viewers are not part of the traditional Democratic base,” Kucinich said, “but they have a right to hear from the Democratic candidates and we as candidates have an obligation to reach out to them. Families who view Fox News have lost loved ones in Iraq, lost their jobs to NAFTA, and lost their homes to medical bills, just as have the viewers of other networks.”

Kucinich said the refusal of the three senators to participate in the debate raises questions about whether or not they really have the ability to be President.

“First Sens. Clinton and Edwards were tricked by George Bush into voting for the war. Then they and Sen. Obama voted most of the time to support funding the war. All three have said all options are on the table with Iran, meaning they are ready to go to war against Iran. This raises questions about their judgment, about who they are they, who they represent? African-Americans —  and Fox viewers — have a right to know.”

“I know some people object to Fox News,” Kucinich said, “and they take issue with Fox coverage, and the way Fox covers the news. I've taken issue with Fox on many occasions, but I don't hesitate to be questioned by Fox or any of its affiliates. I've also taken issue with the New York Times — which, after all, was largely responsible for selling the Bush war plans to the American people. But this will be a live debate. The issue here is not what questions Fox broadcasters will ask, but how the candidates for President will answer them. The issue is not what the commentators will say after the debate is over, but what we as candidates say during the debate.”

“The questions asked by the Congressional Black Caucus will be just as important, and our answers just as telling, on Fox as on any other network,” Kucinich said.

The Ohio congressman, who is an avid baseball fan, also noted that “Fox broadcasts the World Series, too, but is it any less of a World Series because it's on Fox? Ask the fans in St. Louis, or Anaheim, or Boston.”

“Lets face it, the race for the presidency is the World Series of politics, and here you have three candidates for President who are admitting that not only can they not hit right-handed pitching, they're even afraid to step up to the plate and take a swing. Well, I'm one candidate for President who can hit any pitch anyone throws at me. And I'll be taking the field in Detroit this September with the Congressional Black Caucus.”

“When the Cleveland Indians get into the World Series, and Fox broadcasts the games, I assure you I'll be there,” Kucinich said, “and when Fox broadcasts a debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, I'll be there, too.”


Contact: Andy Juniewicz
              David Bright took a leading role in agitating against this debate.  John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton said they would not participate, but in late May Joe Biden said he would, prompting Civic Action to post this page on its website [ - dated May 30, 2007]

It's time to take on Fox
Dear MoveOn member,

As you know, Fox cable station is a Republican mouthpiece masquerading as a "fair and balanced" news source. That's why MoveOn members helped get Nevada Democrats to drop a Fox-sponsored presidential debate[1], and African American activists recently persuaded John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to reject a Fox/Congressional Black Caucus presidential debate.[2]

For all intents and purposes, that debate was dead and candidates had agreed to a CNN/CBC debate instead. But this weekend, for some unexplicable reason, Joe Biden announced he would attend the Fox debate. He played right into Fox's hands, calling them an unparalleled forum to speak to voters[3]--when their viewership is actually quite small.[4]

Can you call Joe Biden? Tell him to stop legitimizing Fox as a credible news organization. He should publicly announce he will not attend the Fox/CBC debate.

Joe Biden for President: 302-574-2008
Help us track our progress, report your call here:

This is not about Democrats being afraid to go on Fox, or about whether Fox is free to air their right-wing views. It's about whether Democrats will help Fox lie about who they are--putting them on a national stage as a "fair and balanced" debate moderator. Democrats would never let Rush Limbaugh moderate a debate as if he were neutral or credible, so why should they let Fox?

Joe Biden needs to understand that if Democrats pretend Fox is a credible news station now, that makes it easier for Fox to swift-boat Democratic candidates and progressive ideas later. Fox's ability to propel false stories into the mass media is its real source of power--not its viewership.