Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday she would take a “hard pass” on a Fox News invitation to hold a televised town hall event, saying she didn’t want to help the conservative network build credibility with advertisers.
Four of her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination — Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand — have agreed to the events, in which candidates take questions from moderators and voters. Sanders and Klobuchar have already appeared.
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
In Tuesday’s Twitter thread, Warren described Fox News as “a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”
“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,” Warren wrote.
“But 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).”
Last month, Sanders became the first candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination to appear on Rupert Murdoch’s cable news outlet, receiving a warm studio audience reception for his promotion of Medicare for All health insurance.
Before his appearance, Sanders explained his decision to appear at the Fox News town hall.
“When I go on Fox, what I will say is, ‘Look, many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you. He told you he was going to provide health care for everybody, yet his policies are to throw 30 million people off of the health insurance they have,’” Sanders told HuffPost.
Klobuchar, whose town hall on Fox News aired last week, billed herself as “Heartland Amy” and pledged to work with Republicans to end gridlock in Washington. Buttigieg and Gillibrand have yet to hold their events on the network.
In March, citing what it called the “inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News,” Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez announced that he would not allow Fox News to broadcast any of the party’s 2020 presidential primary debates.
President Trump, whose then-White House communications director, Bill Shine, had been the co-president of Fox News, quickly responded to the decision.
Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2019
While the eventual Democratic presidential nominee would benefit from support from Republican voters, an analysis by the left-wing nonprofit Media Matters finds that “frequent Fox News viewers constitute only 35% of Republican registered voters.”
Warren said she still welcomes the network to her campaign events to cover her policy agenda, but would not go out of her way to help with its bottom line.
“I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January,” Warren wrote. “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.”
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