Bernie Sanders has held a town hall on the Fox News Channel, Donald Trump’s favorite news source. Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand are planning to. But count Elizabeth Warren as one Democratic presidential hopeful who wants nothing to do with Fox News, which she calls “a hate-for-profit racket.”
The U.S. senator from Massachusetts explained her reasoning over several messages in a Twitter thread Tuesday.
“I love town halls,” she wrote. “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. Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists — it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class. 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. 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). Here’s one place we can fight back: I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers. I’m running a campaign to reach all Americans. I take questions from the press and voters everywhere I go. I’ve already held town halls in 17 states and Puerto Rico—including WV, OH, GA, UT, TN, TX, CO, MS & AL. I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January. 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.”
Warren’s stance won her praise from Angelo Carusone, president of the watchdog group Media Matters for America.
“Major advertisers are increasingly rejecting Fox News,” he said in a statement. “That’s because they recognize that Fox News is a destructive, bigoted political-propaganda operation. Leaders, especially Democratic leaders, should at least be willing to draw the same line that many major corporations have drawn and reject the extremism and bigotry of Fox News. At minimum, they certainly should not help Fox News avoid accountability by allowing the network to exploit a town hall partnership in an effort to convince advertisers that it’s safe to come back in the water. I understand the need to communicate with a wide audience. But there are other ways to reach conservatives — and they don’t require leaders to enable Fox News’ bigotry and lies.”
However, Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is once again seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, appeared on Fox News in March on the channel’s highest-rated town hall of the primary season. He defended his appearance on the outlet, saying it was a way to reach Trump voters and explain the president’s lies and betrayals to them.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Buttigieg, the only gay candidate in the race, will have a town hall on Fox News this Sunday. Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, will have one June 2. Several other Democratic candidates are considering appearances on the outlet, Rolling Stone notes. The Democratic National Committee, however, has said it will hold no debates on Fox News.