Douglas Schoen calls this exchange he had with Schumer "bone chilling."
Is it surprising that Schumer would demand that Schoen say things that he knows are not true when he appears on national television? Will the rest of the media discuss this story? If a pundit says false claims that viewers know are not true, they have much less credibility when they then say things that they believe are true.
Specifically, Senator Schumer said that since Fox News, in his opinion, has as one of its principle objectives, building support for the Republican Party, anyone who appears on the air as a Democrat, particularly in the political debates Fox News organizes, has an obligation (in his mind) to articulate Democratic talking points. It was his considered opinion that Democrats who do not do this, who speak their minds, as I try to do, were not only not "Democrats" anymore, per se but should also not be identified as such by Fox News Channel.
When I personally suggested to Senator Schumer that I had an affirmative obligation to offer my own personal view point, whether it be consistent with or not consistent with Democratic orthodoxy, the senator said given what Fox News does and given what their mission is, it is absolutely essential that any so called "Democratic" contributor take the party line as articulated by himself and leading Democrats.
And his point, personally, was that myself and my colleague and friend [Democratic strategist and former Jimmy Carter pollster] Pat Caddell, who have criticized the Democrats where we felt it reasonable and necessary, and criticized the Republicans where we felt it was reasonable and appropriate, were no longer "Democrats" because we did not repeat Democratic talking points.
I also made the point to Mr. Schumer that I felt that saying things you did not believe was not appropriate and not right.
He said that under the circumstances, (ie: appearing as a Democrat on Fox News) there was no choice if one wanted to be a Democrat--either mouth the party line or cease and desist from identifying yourself as a Democrat. -- And at the very least, make sure that Fox News does not characterize you as a Democrat. . . .
I found his argument at the very least, disturbing, and as I thought it through, ultimately bone chilling, both for me and for the Democratic party. . . .
Labels: CharlesSchumer, Democrats