In April, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participated in a Fox News town hall. As The Daily Beast reported, Sanders’ appearance was a ratings smash hit with more than 2.5 million viewers tuning in to watch the combative leftist pitch his populist ideas.
As The Atlantic noted, Sanders’ decision was a risk, but it paid off, as the Independent Vermont Senator was able to pierce the Fox News bubble and deliver his message to the network’s predominantly conservative viewership. His appearance prompted other Democrats to accept town hall invitations from the Trump-supporting network, despite the fact that the DNC had officially blacklisted it.
This sparked a public debate in Democratic circles: Should Democrats go on Fox News? According to Elizabeth Warren, they should not; as CNN reported, the Massachusetts senator refused the invitation, denouncing the network as a “hate-for-profit racket.”
Next in line to participate in a Fox News town hall is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has recently surged in the polls. In an email sent to his supporters, Buttigieg defended his decision to go on Fox News, explaining why he believes other Democrats should do the same, Mediaite reports.
Mayor Pete began his statement by denouncing the mega-popular conservative channel, and condemning “the voices on Fox and the media that uncritically amplify hate and the divisive sort of politics that gave rise to the presidency.” He added that the network is “dishonest,” and dedicated to spreading “fear and lies.”
Nevertheless, according to Buttigieg, Fox News viewers should not be ignored.
“If we ignore the viewers of Fox News and every news platform that doesn’t share our worldview, we will surrender our ability to speak directly to millions of American voters,” he said, before explaining why others should consider appearing on the channel as well.
“If we don’t show up, the conservative media will tell our side of the story for us.”
The 37-year-old Buttigieg, who has polled relatively well given the lack of name recognition, has also been criticized for refusing to come forth with policy proposals. Sarcastically praising the South Bend mayor, The Los Angeles Times wrote that he “has everything except positions on major issues.”
Warren once again leads the 2020 field despite not leading in the polls. https://t.co/pTXp3VQJC3— Slate (@Slate) May 18, 2019
Similarly, comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah ridiculed the presidential candidate for not having policy proposals.
“Dude’s like, I’m just gonna wing it,” Noah said during a segment of his show, according to The Guardian.
new from our editor in chief @NathanJRobinson: a thorough—10k words thorough—look at presidential candidate pete buttigieg and what his record tells us what mayor pete really believes. https://t.co/Q0sbs6woPF— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) March 29, 2019
Responding to a question from the audience during a CNN town hall, Buttigieg acknowledged the criticism, but defended his lack of dedication to policy. According to Mayor Pete, policy is important, but the Democrats should focus on values instead of drowning voters in “minutiae.”