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Congressional Black Caucus members split over alliance with Fox on debate

The spin is hot and heavy over at the Congressional Black Caucus over the issue of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute hopping in bed with Faux News for  a Democratic presidential primary debate on Sept. 23 in Detroit.

In a story in The Hill, the chairwoman of the CBC, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) makes these fantasy statements to try to justify the partnership:

“First of all, all the networks have a certain bias,” said Kilpatrick, who emphasized that the CBC Institute and not the CBC itself is sponsoring the debate.

Speaking of Fox, she said, “It’s the largest cable network in America. They have over 70 million subscribers. I don’t think at this point we pull out. The question we have to answer is, Do we want to reach as many Americans as we can?”

Where, pray tell, is she getting that 70 million figure? From an AP story on the Fox News web site, for crying out loud:

But the years of explosive growth have ended at Fox. Viewership over the first eight months of the year was down 5 percent compared to 2005, with a steeper 13 percent decline in prime-time, according to Nielsen Media Research. For 12 straight months, Fox’s prime-time audience has been smaller than the year before. Meanwhile, CNN viewership inched up 5 percent this year through August. On a typical day this year, Fox’s audience is 845,000 while CNN’s is 466,000.

Some in the Congressional Black Caucus are not happy with the partnership. See after the flip.From The Hill:

Four African-American lawmakers sit on the institute’s 14-member board, according to its website. They are Reps. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), Mel Watt (D-N.C.), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Thompson.

One lawmaker who declined to speak on the record about the caucus’s internal decision-making said members could vote to overrule Thompson’s preference for going forward with the debate.

Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who stated that the institute should pull out of the debate with Fox, said the caucus is split evenly on the issue.

“It’s split,” he said. “Half of [the caucus’s members] think that because we started down the path, we should stay.’

One lawmaker said Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, agrees with those of his colleagues who want to scrap the debate. But Clyburn told The Hill he had not discussed the subject with colleagues.

“It’s up to Bennie,” he said, referring to Thompson, with whom he has a close relationship, according to colleagues.

How on earth can the CBCI support a partnership with a network that has allowed patently racist statement to be broadcast unchallenged

Related:
* Why is the Congressional Black Caucus Institute hopping in the sack with Faux News?
* Jesse Jackson sells out to CBC on the Fox debate
* Obama ditches the CBCI/Faux News debate

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Pam Spaulding

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