Ron Paul was on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer about twenty minutes ago in the first quarter hour of the 5pm ET hour and he was doing everything possible to stick it to FNC over his exclusion from the Forum. He had some help from Blitzer on that score. Paul said that Fox was “in a bind” now and hinted that some body of the Republican Party in NH was threatening to withdraw support from the forum if Paul wasn’t invited. Paul also hinted that FNC would look very bad if he finished ahead of any of the current invitees tomorrow in Iowa. I think he’s referring to Fred Thompson.
Update: Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici weighs in defending FNC…to a point.
More often than not, however, “open” debates still focus on a few front-runners, leaving the second-tier candidates desperate to get a word in. The frustration of being consistently ignored even led Democrat Chris Dodd to post a “Talk-o-Meter” on his website, tracking how many minutes each candidate was allowed to speak.
Fox may be restricting debate to the candidates it considers legitimate, but at least it’s doing so in a relatively transparent fashion, rather than using the lesser candidates as silent props to suggest, falsely, that everyone has an equal voice.
And, hey, not for nothing, Fox’s decision means we’ll get to hear more in-depth answers from the candidates who actually stand a reasonable chance of moving into the White House a year from now. Shouldn’t those of us who like to complain about the debates offering nothing but sound bites be grateful for that?