The Democratic Party appears to want very little interaction with Fox News
A man speaking at a historic black church last week in Philadelphia received a hearty applause from a pew-filled sanctuary when he condemned both Mr. Donald Trump, for his hateful speech and Fox News, for what I assume was its enabling of the brash billionaire and its biased reporting. I chuckled, not because the comment was funny, but because I hear that statement, in one form or another, quite often. The most memorable Fox News critique I’ve ever heard came from an unlikely voice: that of a young boy, who, if I had to estimate, was in 3rd or 4th grade. He, along with his classmates and other children from neighboring Philadelphia schools, were visiting City Hall in the spring of 2015 to meet with Mr. Charles Ramsey, the former police commissioner who, after retiring in early January of 2016, has begun working as an adviser to both the Wilmington (Delaware) and Chicago Police Departments. When the young boy saw the media approaching, particularly a cameraman with the local Fox affiliate, he blurted out: “There’s Fox, they lie.”
Despite its branding as “fair and accurate,” Fox News, established by Mr. Rupert Murdoch in 1996, is one of America’s most polarizing media outlets. There’s been many articles published and surveys conducted which conclude that Fox News is, in a term, the mass media arm of the Republican Party. Whether that’s true or not—the network’s top brass rejects that characterization—that perception I assume derives from, in addition to its reporting, that Mr. Roger Ailes, Fox News’ CEO, is a former Republican Party media consultant.
It was a joke in 2007 about Mr. Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate for President at the time, by Mr. Ailes which led to the Nevada Democratic Party canceling a presidential debate co-sponsored by Fox News. And a month after that news broke, Mr. Obama, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, and Mr. John Edwards decided to skip a debate co-sponsored by the network which was scheduled for later that year. Now, fast-forwarding to 2016, Mr. Obama is nearing the end of his presidency; Mrs. Clinton is among those campaigning to replace him; and the Democratic Party still appears to want very little interaction with Fox News.
But over the last four days, there seems to be a not-so-subtle campaign by Fox News to woo the Democrats in an effort to allow the network to host a Democratic debate. On Thursday, following the Democratic debate that, between the broadcast by PBS and simulcast on CNN, garnered 8 million viewers, Mr. Bret Baier, a Fox News host, interviewed Ms. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Near the end of their chat, Mr. Baier made the observation that there are four more debates to go and inquired whether the Fox News team could “handle one of those.” Ms. Schultz, who had been widely criticized for her scheduling of previous debates, appeared quite uncomfortable with the question. And though no answer to Mr. Baier’s inquiry was provided, Ms. Schultz, a Florida Congresswoman, remarked that she was happy to be on-the-air at the present moment, considering “there’s aren’t a lot of Democrats who come on” the network.
And today, on Fox News Sunday with Mr. Chris Wallace, Mr. Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont Senator running as a Democrat for President of the United States, appeared for an interview. Mr. Wallace, too, made the pitch for Fox News to host a debate.
“The Republicans have held debates on all the networks. But the Democrats so far have refused to hold a debate on Fox. Would you be willing to participate in a Democratic debate on Fox News?”
Mr. Sanders said if the rules were fair and the DNC was in favor of it, he’d participate. Mr. Wallace asked if Mr. Sanders thought the interview that he just sat through was fair. Mr. Sanders suggested that though he was treated fairly in this interview, he’d seen other ones on the network that weren’t as flattering. Mr. Sanders then reiterated his willingness to participate with conditions.
“If I could have a guarantee—and knew who the questioners were, and if the framework for the debate was fair—I would have no objection.”
Mrs. Clinton has yet to be asked on air, and she probably won’t. As Mr. Wallace noted this morning, she’s has, during the length of her campaign thus far, ignored request to appear on Fox News Sunday.
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