In an unprecedentedly bad move, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday released a statement to The Washington Post announcing that Fox News would not be hosting any of the 2020 Democratic primary debates.
The motivation for Perez’s decision, he explained, was “recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News.”
The story in question, by staffer Jane Mayer, cites sources who “confirm” that Fox News is in the Trump administration’s pocket. One of them is Bill Kristol, who was a contributor at Fox News Channel before declaring himself a “Never Trumper” and heading over to the “dark side.” (He now appears regularly on CNN’s “Crossfire” and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” as well as the networks.) In Kristol’s view, according to Mayer, it isn’t he who changed but Fox News: “Before, it was conservative, but it wasn’t crazy. Now it’s just propaganda.”
Mayer, the author of the “exposé,” is herself not above distorting the facts in a news story. As LU contributor
Hill’s liberal slant did not stop liberal reporters like Jane Mayer from falsely claiming that she was conservative or apolitical, rather than the left-leaning academic that she in fact was by 1990. In claiming that Hill was apolitical, Mayer cited the fact that Hill had devoted herself to supposedly non-controversial things like pushing college hate-speech restrictions. But hate-speech restrictions are not apolitical or non-controversial: The Supreme Court unanimously struck down a municipal hate-speech ban in R.A.V. v. St. Paul, and a federal judge had struck down a hate-speech ban at the University of Michigan in 1989.
But limitations notwithstanding, Mayer’s article was all Tom Perez needed to justify excluding Fox News from his “array of potential media partners … for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”
The Post article notes that Donald Trump reacted to Perez’s decision in a tweet that read, “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!”
Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2019
Needless to say, the media are all over that reaction, though there’s nothing new about a president going after the media. Barack Obama was unremittingly hostile to Fox News, going so far as to spy on one of the network’s reporters and denigrating its viewers as “living on a different planet.”
This is the first time, however, that one of the two major political parties denied a network from participation in debates on claims of bias — this despite the fact that Donna Brazile, as a CNN commentator, fed Hillary Clinton answers to debate questions in advance in 2016.
This will not be the final word on this subject.