Responding to a New Yorker Magazine investigative piece published this week that probed the inner workings of Fox News, portraying the network as “propaganda” for the Donald Trump administration rather than a legitimate news organization, the Democratic National Committee severed any ties with the network, banning Fox from hosting a presidential debate in the Democratic primary 2020 election campaign.
Saying that he had previously been in talks with Fox to host at least one of the candidate debates during the campaign, DNC Chair Tom Perez cited the reporting by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer “on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News.” The facts revealed about close ties between Trump and the network revealed in Mayer’s investigation “led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” Perez said, as quoted by The Washington Post.
The DNC announcement produced a quick response from Trump himself via Twitter, in which Trump threatened to somehow shut out networks other than Fox from debates held in the general election campaign.
“Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate,” Trump wrote. “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!”
Of course, general election debates are carried by all major networks simultaneously, unlike primary debates which are generally carried on only the hosting network, making the meaning of Trump’s threat to “do the same thing” unclear. But Trump also appeared to forget that he, too, boycotted a Fox News debate during the 2016 presidential Republican primary campaign.
As The Washington Post reported in 2016, Trump became unhappy with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who served as a moderator at an earlier debate hosted by Fox. Trump claimed that Kelly was biased against him after she posed a question about his attitude toward women.
“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” Kelly stated in the question, asking Trump to justify his derogatory remarks towards women, as ABC News reported.
The question outraged Trump, who began a campaign against Kelly on his Twitter account, culminating in his boycott of a Fox News debate on January 28, shortly before the Iowa caucuses which kicked off the primary election season, as The Post reported.
Before he made up his mind to boycott the debate rather than allow Kelly to question him again, Trump polled his followers on Twitter. But even though 56 percent of respondents said that he should “do” the Fox debate, Trump backed out anyway.