I'm reminded of last fall, when most of the Democratic presidential candidates decided not to participate in a debate hosted/co-sponsored by Fox News. A variety of mainstream news outlets and major figures were indignant about the decision, with many publicly asking whether Democrats could trusted to stand up to al Qaeda if they were "afraid" to answer questions from Fox News.
We can assume, of course, that similar questions will be asked of the McCain campaign now, right? After all, if McCain and his team are ready to take on a world of serious challenges, why are they afraid of a smart, highly-rated talk-show host?
First, let me say that although I disagree with him more than I agree and have the utmost respect for the civil way he presents his arguments, I think Steve has it wrong here. And here's why:
MSNBC is the lowest rated cable news channel on TV. Since it's inception almost three weeks ago, Maddow's show has topped Olbermann's Countdown once (which consistently has been beaten soundly with very large margins, by O'Reilly) and CNN's Larry King.
On Thursday September 18, she drew an estimated 1,971,000 viewers, compared to Larry King's 1,855,000. That's a net difference of only 116,000.
But when we look at Fox's numbers that very same night on the Hannity and Colmes Show, we see quite a difference. For the same night's time slot for Maddow, H&C drew an estimated 4,589,000 viewers, for a difference of 2,618,000 between the the two shows. H&C even drew 763,000 more viewers than Maddow and King, combined.
The reason a Democratic candidate needs to appear on Fox more than a Republican needs to appears on Maddow, is simple. The race is close and by all expert accounts, they should be miles ahead in the polls. But they are not.
Fox has far more viewers on a consistent basis. And if I had to register a guess why, it's because independents (like myself) see Fox as far more objective than its competitors. So when a race is this close, a campaign needs the indie vote. Partisans already have their candidate picked and the undecided voters are the only ones left to win over.
That being the case, why would anyone waste time on a "Jenny-come-lately" show like Maddow's? Her base is made up by and and has followed her from, the failed Air America network. Knowing this, how objective is she likely to be and how many of the target audience will be watching? Answers: Not very and very little to none.
Let's just put it like this, McCain going on Maddow (or even Olbermann) would be like Obama going on Hannity, Limbaugh, or Beck. How utterly likely would this be?
No folks, McCain has been on hostile ground with some of the major network shows, many times before now. He's not a bit afraid. In fact, recently, he allowed the clueless hacks that sit on ABC's The View to hammer him mercilessly. Why would he need to give access to one more?