The many, many Democratic candidates looking to move forward in the primary race ahead of the 2020 presidential election are having to decide whether they will participate in town hall events hosted by Fox News. Bernie Sanders did one. So did Amy Klobuchar. Pete Buttigieg has one scheduled for this weekend, and Julián Castro and Eric Swalwell are reportedly in talks to schedule their own. Elizabeth Warren, however, has given the network a big ol’ no thank you.
I can understand why these candidates and their advisors think it would be beneficial to do a Fox News event. They likely think they will have the opportunity to reach some undecided independents or even Republican voters who aren’t on board for a second Trump term. There’s even an argument to be made that these candidates have the ability to challenge the network they’re appearing on. Sanders did that very lightly, prompting one of the hosts to ask him to “get over the Fox thing,” although Sanders repeatedly made it clear he was criticizing all media, not just Fox.
I get those arguments, though I don’t agree with them. I’m on the side that sees a Democratic candidate’s appearance on Fox News as normalizing of a network that peddles hate and propaganda, not news. And it’s really satisfying to hear Elizabeth Warren say as much.
In a Twitter thread, Warren breaks down her problem with the idea of a Fox News town hall.
I love town halls. I’ve done more than 70 since January, and I’m glad to have a television audience be a part of them. Fox News has invited me to do a town hall, but I’m turning them down—here’s why…
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 14, 2019
“Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class,” she writes. “Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money—big ad money.”
Basically, Fox needs Warren and the other Democrats a whole lot more than they need Fox. As Warren writes, “Fox News is struggling as more and more advertisers pull out of their hate-filled space. A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it’s safe to buy ads on Fox—no harm to their brand or reputation (spoiler: It’s not).”
“Here’s one place we can fight back: I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates—especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers,” she writes, noting that she’s already held town hall events in 17 states and Puerto Rico.
“I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January. Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet,” she says. “But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.”
Leading on policy, leading by example, again and again and again. https://t.co/wWrIPynCcI
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) May 14, 2019
Geez. Does Elizabeth Warren ever get sick of being right about everything? This is *precisely* why Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar should not have done a Fox News town hall.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) May 14, 2019
sorry to get into politics especially in the morning but Elizabeth warren is the only choice you stupid assholes better not mess this up i swear to god
— Christine Sydelko (@csydelko) May 14, 2019
(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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