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Fox News Democrats

Salon.com (watch short ad for a day pass) Plenty of Democrats do appear on Fox. In fact, John Edwards, the first of the announced presidential candid

Salon.com (watch short ad for a day pass)

Plenty of Democrats do appear on Fox. In fact, John Edwards, the first of the announced presidential candidates to drop out of the Nevada debate, has appeared on the network more than 30 times, most recently in late January of this year, and Mark Mellman has appeared more than 80 times.

But Fox also has a stable of regular commentators, some under contract to the network, who pop up frequently as representatives of the Democratic or progressive viewpoint. They do not appear to know what they have gotten into. Though these Democrats tell Salon they are doing their best to reach out and sway potential voters, they often seem to be used to further a conservative political agenda, fulfilling one of several roles that ultimately just helps the network's right-of-center hosts make their arguments against liberals.

Those Fox-friendly Democrats who agreed to speak with Salon say they're doing their best to help the party, arguing that Democrats can't afford to ignore the nation's most watched cable news network. They insist that when they've appeared on Fox they've scored points for progressives and swayed some viewers. "I think there are some liberals who are extremely biased about Fox News," says Alan Colmes, the liberal half of "Hannity & Colmes," "and wish to shun it or wish to criticize any liberal who appears on Fox News. That, to me, is not a particularly liberal attitude."

[..]But if one actually watches a lot of Fox News, the in-house Democrats don't come off as effective evangelists for their party or for liberal politics in general. It sounds harsh, but think of most of the Fox Democrats, at least those who appear on the opinion shows, which take up half the network's airtime, as one of three types. They are either scary liberals, losers or enablers. Representatives of each type may score some points for Democrats when they appear on-air, but ultimately they help further Fox's larger narrative about Democrats and liberals and what they stand for.

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