DNC Rejects Fox News as 2020 Debate Host

Perez cites report calling network 'propaganda'

DNC chairman Tom Perez (George Frey/Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee on Wednesday announced it has excluded Fox News from its list of networks hosting Democratic primary debates during the 2019-2020 cycle.

DNC chairman Tom Perez cited a New Yorker report from earlier this week that suggested the news network had become a "propaganda" network used to prop up President Donald Trump and his agenda, the Washington Post reported.

"I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters," Perez said in a statement to the Post. "That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. 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. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates."

Several networks, including Fox News, submitted proposals to the DNC to televise one of the 12 debates starting in June, but only two networks were accepted to host debates. NBC, including its sister networks MSNBC and Telemundo, and CNN will host the debates.

Fox News senior vice president Bill Sammon pushed back against Perez's characterization of the network by saying it has the "best debate team in the business."

"We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate," Salmon said. "They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters."

Fox News hosted back-to-back town halls in 2016 with Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), but they did not televise a Democratic debate during that year.

During the 2016 Democratic primary, Donna Brazile, who was a CNN contributor at the time and later became interim DNC chair, leaked a debate question ahead of a CNN debate to Clinton's campaign. She sent the email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and communications director Jennifer Palmieri the day before the debate. She also provided debate questions to Clinton's campaign in advance of a March 13 CNN town hall event hosted by Roland Martin and Jake Tapper.