Lanny Davis is one of the Democrats who frequently appears on Fox, his role being to make it seem like only shrill, "far left" ideologues (correctly) believe Fox News to be a Republican propaganda organ and that someone like Sean Hannity is a despicable fool who systematically spreads malicious misinformation.And I went on to link to a Democracy Now segment where Ken Silverstein excoriated Davis for lobbying on behalf of the Honduran military coup which deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya.
On the Aug. 7 edition of Democracy Now, Davis came on to debate the coup with Latin American historian Greg Grandin, with Amy Goodman moderating. Davis did Fox News proud, using the same tactics that the Republican Noise Machine has used for decades to discredit journalists and shift the range of acceptable political discourse ever to the "right."
He came right out the gate accusing Amy Goodman of not being a neutral moderator because she opened up with an "ideological rant that distorts the facts." After listening to the entire debate, I came away with the strong suspicion that making such an accusation was part of the game plan all along, because Davis makes that accusation over and over again, accusing both Goodman and Grandin of lacking facts and of "ideologically ranting." Further evidence that this may have been a disingenuous strategy is the nature of what Davis considers "ideological": he accused Grandin of being ideological and using an ad hominem attack for recognizing the fact that President Zelaya was removed by a military coup backed by the Honduran business elite (a fact generally uncontroversial outside of people paid by the Honduran business elite to call it controversial) and Goodman too for accurately stating that Zelaya accepted the mediation proposal of Oscar Arias while the coup leader, Micheletti, did not.
Davis employs other Sean Hannity style tactics in the debate, including the loaded gotcha question with dubious "facts" that are difficult to respond to without first fact-checking them, repeatedly demanding an answer to the gotcha question, interrupting and talking over the other speaker while getting indignant when interrupted himself, and distorting his opponents words. And Davis concludes the debate the way he started it, characterizing Goodman as being a dishonest ideologue for not letting him introduce a red herring into the discussion.
You can see some brief fact-checking of Davis' performance here; Grandin did his own fact-checking at Huffington Post and systematically picked apart Davis using the Democracy Now transcript. The whole thing is worth reading, but here is a typical example of Davis in action:
#12: Davis contested my claim that the U.S. State Department, prior to the coup, criticized the Honduran Supreme Court for corruption and for being controlled by political elites. This charge got Lanny particularly agitated: "I challenge that statement," he said.
Fact Check: The State Department's 2008 human rights report writes: "Although the constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, the judicial system was poorly funded and staffed, inadequately equipped, often ineffective, and subject to patronage, corruption, and political influence.... Low wages and lack of internal controls rendered judicial officials susceptible to bribery, and powerful special interests exercised influence in the outcomes of court proceedings. There are 12 appeals courts, 77 courts of first instance with general jurisdiction, and 330 justice of the peace courts with limited jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Justice names all lower court judges. The media and various civil society groups continued to express concern that the eight-to-seven split between the National and Liberal parties in the Supreme Court of Justice resulted in politicized rulings and contributed to corruption in public and private institutions."