The Democratic Party said Wednesday it will not allow Fox News to host any of its primary candidate debates, after published revelations suggested the network is a “propaganda” vehicle for President Donald Trump.
National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez said a story in this week’s New Yorker magazine on the White House’s apparently close relationship with the channel prompted the decision. “Just to be clear, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates,” Perez said on Twitter.
“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,” he added in a statement to The Washington Post.
News of the move enraged Trump, who suggested on Twitter he would “do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats” - despite having no authority over Republican debate broadcasting rights.
The events traditionally draw broad viewership, and the series of debates beginning this year - aimed at winnowing the Democratic field of over a dozen candidates - will likely have large television audiences.
The DNC has announced that the first of the debates will take place in June, expected to feature the likes of senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, among others.
The New Yorker piece detailed how Trump has given dozens of interviews to Fox and repeatedly tweets claims that have been made on the popular cable news network, owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
It said that in 2016, Fox went so far as to kill its online story about Trump’s alleged affair with a pornographic film actress, with a network executive telling the journalist that she had done “good reporting” on the story, “but Rupert wants Donald Trump to win.”
One of Fox’s top anchors Sean Hannity, an informal adviser to Trump during the campaign, has appeared with the billionaire politician at events before and after Trump’s election.
Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon said in a statement that “we hope the DNC will reconsider its decision,” adding that its debate moderators are some of the best in the business.