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NEW YORK -- The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday that it won't pick Fox News to televise one of the upcoming debates being held for its 2020 presidential contenders.

The committee's chairman, Tom Perez, said in a statement that Fox News "is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates." Perez cited an article published this week by The New Yorker that reported on ties between the president and the network, which he deemed an "inappropriate relationship."

Even before that story, some Democratic activists were complaining about the committee's consideration of Fox as a potential broadcast partner.

Perez has said that it is important for Democrats to expand the electorate and reach all voters, and that was why he had considered Fox. The Democrats have announced 12 debates for later this year; NBC News and CNN are set to broadcast the first two.

Trump weighed in Wednesday evening on Twitter: "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!"

Trump has frequently slammed NBC, MSNBC and CNN, among others, for their coverage of his presidency.

Fox said it hoped the Democrats would reconsider its decision to host a debate that would be moderated by Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

"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," said Bill Sammon, senior vice president and managing editor of Fox's Washington bureau.

Evening news anchor Baier tweeted that the decision was "really a shame."

Fox News did not sponsor a formal debate during the 2016 Democratic nominating process, but it did host a town hall featuring Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in March 2016; Baier served as moderator.

Democratic contender Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota senator, appeared on Baier's show Feb. 12. Perez has been interviewed by both Baier and Wallace this year.

Relations between political parties and news networks are not always smooth. In 2016, Republican officials stripped a debate from NBC News after alleging that a previous event, conducted by the network's corporate sibling CNBC, was "petty and mean-spirited in tone," according to the party's then-chairman, Reince Priebus.

Information for this article was contributed by David Bauder and Bill Barrow of The Associated Press; and by Michael M. Grynbaum and Astead W. Herndon of The New York Times.

A Section on 03/08/2019

Print Headline: Democrats reject Fox News as presidential debate host


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Archived Comments

  • 23cal
    March 8, 2019 at 7:27 a.m.

    This is interesting.
    There is a good argument for not lending legitimacy to a propaganda network pretending to be a news network. I can see why Democrats wouldn't want to air their debates on GOPTV.
    There is also an argument for throwing pearls before swine, I suppose.

  • BoudinMan
    March 8, 2019 at 8:21 a.m.

    How can they be certain that fox won't use questions given to them by the White House?

  • Skeptic1
    March 8, 2019 at 8:39 a.m.

    If anyone thought the majority of the media is not controlled by the left this should reverse that. Fox News has the highest viewer ratings by miles of any other news outlet and has for years. There are not enough Republicans in the country to make that happen, so these fascist abusers of the First Amendment are telling a huge number of conservative Democrats and independents you don't matter. For a party so desperately wanting power they are looking more like a circular firing squad.

  • Skeptic1
    March 8, 2019 at 8:47 a.m.

    BoudinMan...are you serious? Do you not recall Donna Brazile being outed for leaking CNN debate questions to Hillary? NBC, MSNBC, and CNN are nothing more than leftist megaphones for the Dems, leaving Fox out of their debates will be a self-inflicted wound as Fox has the highest viewer rating by miles. Giving the finger to those millions will be a huge boon to Trump and other Republicans running in 202.

  • Jfish
    March 8, 2019 at 8:54 a.m.

    I suppose the DNC did not learn much from their meddling in 2016.

    March 8, 2019 at 8:57 a.m.

    The legitimacy/propaganda arguments are a bit weak, but still there's no reason to gift Fox the ad revenue.

  • wowy
    March 8, 2019 at 9:37 a.m.

    ! ! ! T R U M P . T R U M P . B A B Y ! ! !

  • pcrasehotmailcom
    March 8, 2019 at 9:43 a.m.

    And the beat goes on..............

  • GeneralMac
    March 8, 2019 at 9:59 a.m.

    How can Democrats complain about FOX ?

    Fox never employed Donna Brazille or Candi Crowley.

  • Foghorn
    March 8, 2019 at 10 a.m.

    Viewer ratings do not confer legitimacy on a clearly right wing propaganda factory. Quite the opposite.