The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday it does not plan to partner with Fox News for debates during the 2020 election cycle, citing new reports that the network’s ties to the Trump administration have prevented it from providing unbiased coverage.
The announcement comes on the heels of a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer, “The Making of the Fox News White House,” that describes the various ways in which Fox has promoted President Donald Trump’s agenda.
DNC president Tom Perez said the article’s revelations led him to the conclusion that Fox was “not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”
“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 a statement to HuffPost.
“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,” he went on. “Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”
Fox News senior vice president Bill Sammon said in a statement that he hoped the DNC would “reconsider.”
Trump has long enjoyed a close relationship with Fox News, even while regularly smearing other outlets as “fake news” and “enemies of the people.” The network gave him a regular spot on its morning program “Fox & Friends” when he was still a reality television star in 2011.
But the president’s ties to the network are reportedly deeper than many people realize. According to Mayer’s article, Trump in 2017 ordered Gary Cohn, then director of the National Economic Council, to direct the Justice Department to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns CNN. The alleged attempt was seen as an effort to retaliate against CNN for its critical reporting on the Trump administration.
Mayer also describes how Fox News killed a story just weeks before the 2016 election about Trump’s alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, as first reported by CNN in January 2018.
Trump has furthermore hired numerous former Fox personalities and contributors to work in his administration ― perhaps most notably recruiting the network’s former co-president, Bill Shine, to be his deputy chief of staff for communications.
In being excluded from hosting the DNC’s debates, Fox could lose out on a major ratings opportunity. The first Democratic debate in October 2015 reached nearly 16 million viewers.