The DNC said Wednesday afternoon it will not partner with Fox News for a Democratic candidate debate in the 2020 race, citing Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece that cast Fox News as having a too cozy relationship with President Donald Trump, describing FNC’s primetime as a sort of Trump State TV.
Fox News’s response followed shortly.
In his statement of response, Bill Sammon, Fox News SVP/Managing Editor Washington, did not address the explosive New Yorker article, The Making of the Fox News White House.
“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,” he 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,” he added.
In DNC chair Tom Perez’s announcement, however, the New Yorker article loomed large:
“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,” began the head of the Democrats’ – “Demon Rats,” as FNC star Jeanine Pirro calls them on FNC – party in his announcement.
“Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates,” Perez concluded.
Mayer’s report, which came out same morning Donald Trump tweeted extensive quotes from Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity’s previous night primetime shows, begins with the premise Fox News always has been partisan but asked “has it become propaganda?”
It opens with a scene in which, during the government shutdown, the press corp covering Trump was led by Secret Service to a location in Hidalgo County, Texas where President Donald Trump would speak. Hannity already was on location with Trump’s administration entourage, literally hugging them, and being treated “like a member of the Administration because he virtually is one,” Mayer wrote, adding, “The same can be said of Fox’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch.”
A Fox spokesman previously pointed Deadline to earlier denials of the article’s various points, including the allegation Fox News tipped Trump that then-primetime star Megyn Kelly would ask about how he treats women at the first GOP debate.
Fox News had the Stormy Daniels hush-money payment before the election, Mayer reported, alleging editors killed it because Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch Murdoch wanted Trump to win the race. Fox news execs said the Stormy Daniels report was not ready to publish.
NBC already has been announced to host the the first Dem debate this summer; CNN will host the second. FNC was still in the running until Wednesday’s announcement.