Apr
01
2002

Crossfire Still Missing a Voice 'From the Left'

CNN's "Crossfire" debate show will unveil two new hosts "from the left" on April 1: long-time Democratic strategists Paul Begala and James Carville.

April Fool's Day is a fitting date for the debut of the "new" Crossfire in which centrist-leaning Democrats will once again represent the left on the show. Begala and Carville have little connection to the broad-based social justice and progressive political movements that are identified with the American left. Unabashed right-wingers Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson, who will remain as the hosts from the right, represent a much better fit with the political point of view that they are intended to represent.

Begala has repeatedly cheered the Democrats moving rightward: "You know, Bill Clinton saved the Democratic Party with Al Gore by pulling us back to the center, by disagreeing with the liberals on welfare reform and on crime and on trade. And he pulled us back to the center" (NBC's "Meet the Press," 4/11/99).

Carville similarly praises Clinton's centrism (CNBC, 2/23/00): "What he did was a political feat that is unmatched in American political history. He moved the Democratic Party to the center...and kept the core Democratic voters."

It's hard to conceive of Novak or Carlson (or Patrick Buchanan before them) praising Republicans for moving leftward.

"A flashy advertising campaign touting the show's new look shouldn't fool anyone," said FAIR's Peter Hart. "This April Fool's Day, the joke is on Crossfire viewers, with "the left" being represented by two men who -- while skilled election consultants -- are not genuine advocates for the agenda of the American left."