New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has approached Fox News about doing a town hall on the top-rated cable news network, despite previously eviscerating it as racially and politically divisive.
The New York Times reported on the 2020 Democratic candidate's desire to appear on Fox, which a spokeswoman chalked up to a desire to reach as many voters as possible. His honor is a current non-factor in the polls and still has work to do to reach the first primary debate stage later this month.
"We want to talk to all voters about why the mayor is the best candidate for working people–regardless of what news channel they watch," de Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said.
De Blasio has been famously hostile to Rupert Murdoch's media entities, chief among them Fox News and the New York Post. He said last year that Murdoch's News Corp was responsible for the political rise of President Donald Trump and blamed it for dividing the country.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 3, 2019
He spoke in even starker terms on CNN in August, telling Reliable Sources that Murdoch's media empire was responsible for "dividing people and creating hatred and negativity and changing our political landscape for the worse."
If News Corp didn't exist, "there would be less overt hate, there would be less appeal to racial division," he said.
Host Brian Stelter, who has criticized the Trump White House for its "fake news" attacks on the media and CNN in particular, said politicians were "lousy media critics" and wondered if his broadsides at Fox News were as wrong—in his view—as Trump's on CNN.
"Does News Corp have a clear right-wing agenda? I think that one's pretty obvious," de Blasio said. "Do they sensationalize, racialize, and divide? Yes. Does that compare to CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post? No. One of these things is not like the other."
A Fox News spokesperson said several candidates have expressed interest regarding town halls but declined to comment specifically on de Blasio.
De Blasio has also leveled attacks at the New York Post over its aggressive coverage of his City Hall. In 2016, he called it a "right-wing rag" and refused to answer a reporter's questions at a press conference.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) became the fourth major Democratic presidential candidate to appear on Fox News for a town hall on Sunday, following Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former Obama administration official Julián Castro will appear on Fox for a town hall on June 13.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has refused to accept an invitation to appear on Fox, calling it a "hate-for-profit scam" that is trying to use Democrats to bolster credibility with advertisers. The Democratic National Committee has also blacklisted Fox News from conducting any Democratic primary debates.
UPDATE: 12:21 P.M.: This article was updated with a comment from a Fox News spokesperson and to note Castro's upcoming town hall event.