Presidential candidate John Edwards (D-NC) is calling for all Democratic candidates to return any donations from News Corp. executives in light of the company's pending acquisition of Dow Corporation and its flagship Wall Street Journal. Edwards was also first to boycott a debate which is scheduled to air on Fox News Channel.
"The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party," he said. Edwards' statement was seen by many as a thinly-veiled attack on front-runner Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who has received contributions from several top officials at News Corp., including Peter Chernin and Gary Ginsberg, not to mention James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch. Fellow Democratic candidate Chris Dodd (D-CT) called for an FCC investigation into the merger (despite the fact that the FCC's jurisdiction over the matter is questionable at best). Dodd noted that the very fact that News Corp. will form a committee to protect the journalistic integrity of the Wall Street Journal underlines the questionable nature of the deal.
"It should be a given that The Wall Street Journal's reporting will not be affected by its parent company," he was quoted as saying. As for Edwards, he is using the controversy to raise campaign funds, just as he did after previous flaps with pundit Ann Coulter. An email entitled "Unfair and Unbalanced" went out to his supporters asking for help in making a stand against the company.
SmartMedia observation: Last we heard, the Congressional Black Caucus/Fox News Channel debate was still on the September schedule, but only Joe Biden (D-DE) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has agreed to participate. For their part, Republican candidates are showing equal antipathy to a CNN/YouTube debate that was happily embraced by the Democrats. The question is: Are we edging toward a journalism system where each party has its own media platforms? We doubt we're there yet, but it sure looks like its trending in that direction.