- On Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez announced that the DNC would not consider Fox News when choosing hosts for the 2020 Democratic presidential-primary debates.
- The announcement came after a bombshell report from The New Yorker on Monday said President Donald Trump’s administration has unusually close ties with the network and its leader, Rupert Murdoch.
- Many Fox anchors and journalists criticized the decision on social media.
On Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez announced that the DNC would not consider Fox News when choosing hosts for the 2020 Democratic presidential-primary debates.
The announcement came after a bombshell report from The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer on Monday said President Donald Trump’s administration has unusually close ties with the network and Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News’ parent company, Newscorp.
“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,” Perez said.
Trump has brought many former Fox employees – including Bill Shine, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications, and Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman – into the administration.
The New Yorker reported that when a Fox News reporter first came across the story that Trump directed his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump, in exchange for silence just weeks before the election, she said she was told, “good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win.”
The network has denied the allegations and previously said the Daniels story was not published because it was not ready for publication at the time.
Fox News also released a statement regarding the DNC’s decision on Wednesday.
“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,” the network said.
Many journalists from Fox and other outlets opposed the DNC’s barring Fox from hosting a debate, citing the work of the news anchors Wallace, Baier, MacCallum, and Shep Smith. All four anchors, in their reporting, have pushed back against claims Trump has made. Wallace and Baier also hosted presidential debates in 2016.
After the DNC’s announcement, Fox anchors, reporters, and contributors took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the decision.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) March 6, 2019
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
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 6, 2019
In addition to the Fox hosts, other media members also took issue with the decision. The Politico media analyst Jack Schafer wrote a Wednesday article titled, “If you’re afraid of Shep Smith, you probably shouldn’t be president,” calling the DNC’s decision “shameful political gutlessness.”
Schafer and others said the blacklisting of Fox was unwarranted because straight-news anchors, not opinion hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity, would be moderating a debate.
Others said that even if some of Fox’s anchors strike a balance in their reporting and have fairly hosted presidential debates in the past, the DNC’s blacklisting of Fox is justified because the network as a whole goes to extreme lengths to protect Trump.
“There are many things you can call a media organization that punishes its employees for digging up stories that are politically inconvenient for the Republican Party – ‘a legitimate news network’ is not one of them,” New York magazine writer Eric Levitz said on Wednesday.