Unlike some of her fellow candidates, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) won’t be appearing on Fox News this cycle. She laid down a verbal hammer to explain her decision.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Warren called Fox News a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracy theorists.” The tweet contained a link to her website and asked visitors to sign a “petition” supporting the decision (i.e., join an email list for Team Warren).
Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracy theorists. I won’t ask Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates. Sign up now to join me and take a stand.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 14, 2019
Warren also released a much longer statement on the decision, doubling down on her Fox News fire and saying the network “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.”
Elizabeth Warren has turned down an offer to hold a Fox News town hall. The news channel is a “hate-for-profit racket” that provides “cover,” she says, for the very thing she’s campaigning against: “corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.” pic.twitter.com/NKhYBHw6jM
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) May 14, 2019
Warren closes by saying, “Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.”
For what it’s worth, Warren has appeared on Fox News in the past, though sparingly, including for a March 2018 interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Warren’s announcement follows Fox News town hall appearances by Democratic challengers Bernie Sanders in April and one earlier in May by Amy Klobuchar. One other entrant in the crowded Democratic 2020 field, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has a town hall scheduled for the network on May 19.
At least one of Warren’s opponents, former Congressman John Delaney, has already spoken out against Warren’s decision.
Her announcement comes about a month after an interesting 17-tweet-long thread on the topic of Democratic candidates and Fox News from Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, which bills itself as “the nation’s premier progressive media watchdog.”
1/ Lots of chatter about Democratic presidential candidates partnering w/Fox News for town halls. There’s a lot of confusion, assumptions and conflation swirling about.
I’ve been knee-deep in this for long while. Lemme unpackage and help clear some things up…
— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) April 17, 2019
In her statement, Warren echoed one of Carusone’s main points: that Fox was bringing in Democrats for these town halls as a way to sway advertisers after multiple rounds of bad press, including Jane Mayer’s deep dive for the New Yorker into the connections between the network and the Trump White House.
After Warren’s announcement, Carusone told me, “This is the exact decision that Democratic leaders should be making.” It’s also a matter of consistency, he says, noting the criticism that Fox News has received from many Democrats, including Sanders: “If you criticize the network as a propaganda outlet … then you should act accordingly.”
Carusone disagrees with the notion that Democratic candidates need Fox News to reach conservative voters. Pointing out that just over 60 million people voted for Trump, he tells me, “Fox News doesn’t have 60 million viewers every night … Really, it is a very small subset of the Republican Party, a core of the core of the base.”
He adds, “If you genuinely want to reach an audience for persuasion and maximum penetration of a wide spectrum of viewers, including conservatives, you don’t do that through Fox News. You don’t do that through partisan media. You do that through local media. You do that through radio.”
Given that the Democratic National Committee rejected all bids by Fox News to host any 2020 primary debates while Democratic candidates continue to squabble over appearing on the network, the issues isn’t likely to be put to rest any time soon.
I’ve reached out to Fox News for comment on Warren’s statement and criticism of the network. We’ll update the story with their response.