Sorry, Fox News, you can’t serve as the propaganda arm of the Donald Trump administration, spend almost every other minute demonizing Democrats and then claim that your network would be a great place to hold a Democratic presidential primary debate.
Although the Democrats shouldn’t have needed Jane Mayer’s New Yorker bombshell to push them definitively into deciding against holding a debate on Fox News, the decision was better late than never. Today’s Washington Post reported this statement from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez:
“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters,” said Perez in his statement to The Washington Post. “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.”
Among other things, the New Yorker article reported that Fox News spiked a report on Trump’s hush money to Stormy Daniels before the election (the rest of us found out afterward) and that debate questions were fed to Trump in advance of its 2015 Republican primary debate.
As The Post noted, presidential debates are great vehicles for both prestige and ratings. So it’s not surprising that Fox News would try to put its best lipstick on its propaganda pig by groveling.
In a statement, Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon said: “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.”
There’s something really pathetic about a cable news network having to promise “ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism,” as if that would not be a given. It all but acknowledges that top ratings-getter, prime time host, and Trump's unofficial chief of staff and Bedtime BFF Sean Hannity is something less than.
So, Fox News, you’ll have to do more than suggest nobody will ask the candidates why they hate America and love “illegals” so much or whether they support the Mueller “witch hunt” or if they’ll promise to re-open an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during a debate. You’ll have to start displaying the same integrity and professionalism you promise on debate night even when it’s not so expedient. Because that’s when it really counts.
For a good example of why Democrats should never have considered Fox as an appropriate debate platform, watch Fox Business host Lou Dobbs get a friendly platform to accuse Democrats of “destroying a nation” as they “foam at the mouth and [have] blood drip from their fangs” below. It was part of the prime time Tucker Carlson Tonight show’s September 28, 2018 coverage of the Senate confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
Fox News is not a legitimate news service, and the names they’ve cited are not legitimate journalists. Bret Baier and Martha McCallum and Chris Wallace have all been exhaustively proven to be partisan promoters. Fox News should be thinking not about the debates but rather how it will deal with accounting for itself in the event that Dems show up for the 2020 election. Because they will not be able to walk back their shameful conduct over the past two decades and their openly outrageous conduct of the past three years.
Being on humiliated on Fox is not a good way to “reach out to all voters”.