The Nevada Democratic Party had scheduled a debate for the announced Presidential candidates in August, to be hosted by Fox News- until MoveOn.Org got wind of it, and raised such a ruckus that the debate has now been cancelled. Two different versions of the story are here and here .
It seems to me that the party is missing a bet here- the problem isn’t that Fox is involved, but that it’s the wrong division of Fox. What we have here, counting both major parties plus the Greens and the Libertarians is over a dozen candidates that have to be winnowed down to four for the final election. Fox has in place the best mechanism yet devised for doing just that- what they should have done is scheduled a special “Presidential Edition” of American Idol!
Look- more people vote for Idol candidates than for President- and they pay extra to do so. Make those 866 charges into campaign contributions; 30 or 40 million calls an evening add up to a lot of money- it could even the playing field for the less well financed candidates. People would actually hear more from each candidate on the “Idol” format than they do in standard debates, especially as the numbers of candidates get smaller each week; we’d have better informed voters. It would save the parties and the taxpayers a fortune; primaries are not paid for by commercials. And a lot of the candidates could well use advice from Simon Cowell!