The Democratic Party is excluding Fox News from hosting any primary candidate debates this year after a magazine article revealed details of the network’s cozy ties with The White House.
“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,” Democratic National Committee head Tom Perez said Wednesday.
‘Best debate team in the business’
While Fox did not directly respond to The New Yorker story Wednesday, it said it hopes the DNC will change its mind, calling its moderators “the best debate team in the business.”
“They offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Fox’s Washington bureau managing editor Bill Samon said.
Fox bills itself as “America’s Newsroom,” and for years used the words “Fair and Balanced” as its on-air slogan.
But the network and many of its anchors and commentators have a distinct conservative view. President Trump has called himself a big fan of Fox and White House staffers say he is a frequent daily viewer.
The New Yorker article noted that President Trump has given Fox News more interviews than the three major commercial TV networks combined.
When Trump visited the U.S.-Mexican border in January, the magazine says Fox News commentator Sean Hannity arrived there long before other media members and that the Secret Service gave him access to Trump while keeping other reporters at bay.
Daily press briefings stop
The New Yorker says White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has halted daily press briefings, but has appeared on Fox about 30 times.
The article points out that in July, Trump hired former Fox News co-president Bill Shine as White house communications director and deputy chief of staff.
Another former Fox News president, Joe Peyronnin, told the magazine “It’s as if the president had his own press organization. It’s not healthy.”
The DNC says the first Democratic candidates’ debate will be held in June.