Sen. Elizabeth Warren has rejected a Fox News invitation for a town hall, calling the conservative-leaning media outlet a “hate-for-profit racket” that represents everything her presidential campaign is fighting against.
Fox News is a “megaphone to racists and conspiracists” and “cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class,” Warren tweeted Tuesday. In her scathing indictment of Fox News, Warren said she won’t contribute to Fox News’s ratings and advertising revenue by asking millions of Americans to tune into an outlet “that profits from racism and hate.”
“Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money—big ad money,” Warren tweeted.
Fox News has played a central role in the Trump presidency. Trump has repeatedly endorsed Fox News’ coverage congratulating the network’s high ratings, while calling other outlets “Fake News.” Meanwhile, Trump and Fox News, which has always had a strong read of the conservative base, have had a symbiotic relationship, sharing talking points and political agenda, so much so that the president has a direct line to the outlets’ pundits, and several of the outlet’s contributors now work for his administration. Bill Shine, a veteran Fox News executive, was Trump’s deputy chief of staff until March, when he stepped down to join the Trump campaign.
That reality has made going on Fox News a high risk-high reward offer for Democrats trying to make the case that they can reach all Americans — even those that voted for Trump.
But not Warren. While she didn’t mention any of the other Democrats in the presidential race in her statement, she cast a shadow over some of her rivals’ decisions to go on the network.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to go on Fox News in mid-April, when he bristled with the hosts, censured the outlet’s politics, called President Donald Trump a “pathological liar,” and seemingly got the Fox News audience to agree with him on a single-payer health care system and even do some call-and-response on Democratic Socialist values. It was so widely seen as a political win for Sanders that even Trump blasted the Fox News hosts for letting Sanders off easy.
Since, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has also gone on Fox News for a town hall, which made less news, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg have town halls booked on the network. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) said he’d be willing to take Warren’s slot on the network.
Warren, however, is offering an alternative.
“I’m running a campaign to reach all Americans,” she said. “I’ve done 57 media avails and 131 interviews, taking over 1,100 questions from press just since January. Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet. But a Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass.”