Fox News CEO warns against debate boycotts

March 9, 2007 at 6:34 PM

WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, speaking in Washington, warned presidential candidates about pulling out of debates based on a sponsoring media company.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards dropped out of an August debate planned by the Nevada Democratic Party, in part because it was being hosted by Fox News channel.

Ailes used a speech during a Radio & Television News Directors Association Foundation event in Washington to deliver a caution to the candidates, TV Week said.

"The public knows if a journalist's question is unfair. They also know if a candidate is impeding freedom of speech and free press," Ailes said. "If you are afraid of journalists, how will you face the real dangers in the world?"

A candidate -- he never mentioned Edwards by name -- that boycotts a debate because of its media sponsorship, Ailes said, "is making a terrible mistake about journalism" and also runs the risk of alienating voters.

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