Yesterday you may recall that the CBC met to discuss whether or not to move forward with the presidential debate with Fox News despite all three frontrunners withdrawing to protest Fox’s hostile, slanted news coverage of Democrats. Without Obama, Edwards and Clinton and without the sanction of the DNC, you would think finding a graceful exit from an embarrassing situation would be a high priority.

Yet I have it on good authority that despite reasonable, dissenting voices, the CBC will press on with the event. The CBC’s current plan of action is to try to convince the top three presidential candidates to attend the debate. They will send the candidates a letter urging them to participate, saying that this is not a Fox debate, that it’s a CBC Institute debate, while also implying that the CBC debate is their only opportunity to speak to black voters and black interests.

So the plan is to pressure the candidates, dissemble and lie. Who do they think they are fooling? The debate would be hosted on Fox News as a co-branded affair from the Fox Theater in Detroit. So Fox is involved. Furthermore, this is not the candidates only chance to speak to black folks. Tavis Smiley has a Democratic debate lined up on PBS that happens to be DNC-approved.

The frontrunners walked away for good reason and are not likely to turn back. Why should they? What on earth would they gain? Fox News’ audience share is declining:

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.

This is just pride, arrogance and denial of defeat on the part of Bennie Thompson and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. They think there’s been some kind of misunderstanding. They think they can use their personal relationships to guilt trip the candidates into ignoring the blogs and the media. They’re wrong. It will be painful to watch them hit the mat again — this time it was a TKO. Now they are lining up for another crushing blow and full-on knockout.

The CBC has a rather sordid history with News Corp helping them lobby on Capitol Hill while receiving cash for the CBC Foundation. The CBC is not likely to benefit from negative media exposure on this issue.

If you’re inclined to do so, please call Rep. Kilpatrick at (202) 225-2261, especially if you are from the Detroit area. She’s your representative. Please also give Rep. Thompson a call at (202) 225-5876, especially if you are from Jackson or Greenville, Mississippi and urge both of them to walk away from this while they can still hold their heads up high. It’s time to move on. In the meantime, let’s start the official CBC DenialWatch.

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