The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that they are not allowing Fox News to host any Democratic presidential debates this election cycle, citing the network’s alleged “inappropriate relationship” with President Donald Trump.
DNC Chair Tom Perez released a statement indicating that he wants the Democratic message to reach as many voters as possible, but also claiming that Fox is “not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate.”
“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”
Perez’s decision is based on reporting in the New Yorker that alleges Fox News has become a propaganda outlet for the Trump administration and no longer operates as a news outlet. (RELATED: NYT Reporter Says Fox News ‘Is Not A News Network)
The Democrats will host their first primary debate on NBC in June and their second on CNN in July, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon slammed the DNC’s decision in response, stating, “We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate.”
“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Sammon added.
Fox White House Correspondent John Roberts noted that the network hosted a presidential debate during the general election in 2016.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) March 6, 2019
Garrett Haake, an MSNBC correspondent, also criticized the decision.
“Not sure how declining to have a debate on Fox News squares with @TomPerez oft-repeated adage about Dems needing to take their message absolutely everywhere & to everyone,” Haake argued.
Not sure how declining to have a debate on Fox News squares with @TomPerez oft-repeated adage about Dems needing to take their message absolutely everywhere & to everyone.
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) March 6, 2019
A number of Fox News anchors and other media professionals similarly called out Perez and painted the decision to bar Fox from hosting debates as short-sighted and unfair.
That’s really a shame. When it comes to fairness – our news product speaks for itself. We will continue to cover this 2020 race fairly & will continue to invite Democrats- Republicans & Independents on to talk about key issues & substance with our very large viewing audience https://t.co/z0TdftcVmz
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) March 6, 2019
Our large audience deserves to hear ALL the candidates who are running for the Presidency of the United States. We welcome them all, with our continued commitment to fair, professional journalism. I hope the #DNC will reconsider this decision. https://t.co/Hhep0b2nJK
— Martha MacCallum (@marthamaccallum) March 6, 2019
I don't know if I totally buy this. While there was new interesting stuff in the Mayer piece (Cohn/AT&T, Ailes/Fox debate q's), a lot of it was summarizing info about the Trump-Fox relationship that's been out there, and I imagine the DNC already knew. https://t.co/S9lkqgk9UJ pic.twitter.com/PAfmFiTLSn
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) March 6, 2019
And if you aren't prepared for tough questions/subjects in a primary debate, how will you handle the general? https://t.co/2tc8RGdbhE
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 6, 2019
As The Hill’s Joe Concha points out, Fox News is routinely the highest-rated news network on cable, meaning the lack of debate on the network severely limits the visibility of 2020 Democratic candidates.