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Democrats say they will not hold debates on Fox News

Posted at 3:48 PM, Mar 06, 2019

The Democrats will not be debating on Fox News this year.

The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday that "Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates."

The organization cited recent reporting in The New Yorker about the mutually beneficial relationship between Fox and the Trump administration. DNC chair Tom Perez called it an "inappropriate relationship."

The DNC has been in talks with many networks, including CNN and Fox, about holding primary season debates.

The first debate will take place this June on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. The second debate will take place in July on CNN. Television partners for the remaining debates have yet to be announced.

"I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News," Perez said in his statement on Wednesday.

But, he wrote, "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."

In the minds of many progressives, this is a no-brainer move. Fox's prime time talk shows relentlessly demonize Democrats and the progressive agenda.

But Fox anchors and some conservatives had been urging the DNC to include Fox in the primary debate lineup.

The New Yorker article -- which summarized past reporting by other outlets and added new information from dozens of sources -- made the case that Fox is a propaganda machine the likes of which the United States has never seen before.

After the article came out, former DNC staffer Adam Parkhomenko tweeted that "the DNC should not be doing any debates on Trump's state media channel."

Other prominent progressives made similar statements.

But Fox continued to advocate for a debate. And on Wednesday, the network's Washington senior vice president and managing editor Bill Sammon suggested that the DNC is making a mistake.

"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," Sammon said. "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."

John Roberts, the network's chief White House correspondent, noted on Twitter that Wallace moderated one of the general election debates in 2016. He said the DNC's decision "seems a little short-sighted."