Sanders to Appear on Fox News for Town Hall on Jobs

Sen. Bernie Sanders is questioned by Fox News host Bret Baier at a Democratic Town Hall March 7, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
April 3, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) will appear on Fox News Channel for a town hall on April 15, making an appeal to viewers Democrats tend to ignore as they battle for position in the crowded presidential primary.

"Fox News Channel will present a town hall with Bernie Sanders on Monday, April 15th. Co-anchored by Special Report's Bret Baier and The Story's Martha MacCallum, the town hall will focus on the economy and jobs," the station said in a release.

April 15 is also Tax Day in the United States. The town hall will be held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Sanders, whose left-wing populism propelled his strong challenge in 2016 to Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination that year, currently leads declared presidential candidates in Democratic polling. However, he frequently trails former Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling getting into the race.

Sanders and Clinton participated in Fox News's only Democratic town hall in Detroit, Michigan, on March 7, 2016. Fox News noted in its release that the town hall averaged 2.6 million viewers in the 6 P.M. ET time slot, beating MSNBC and CNN combined.

Sanders won the Michigan primary the next day in an embarrassing defeat for Clinton, although she would go on to win the nomination. Clinton would up losing Michigan in the general election.

Sanders's decision to participate in the town hall follows the Democratic National Committee's ban last month on Fox News moderating any primary debates.

In making his decision, DNC chair Tom Perez cited a New Yorker report on Fox being tantamount to a propaganda network for President Donald Trump's White House, including one disputed detail that an executive buried a story in 2016 about Trump paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Not everyone was happy about Sanders's decision.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, whose moderation of the final debate between Trump and Clinton in 2016 was widely praised, said far-left Democrats had "Fox derangement syndrome" and they were looking for an excuse. He noted, in spite of its conservative reputation, that Democrats and independents are part of its top-rated audience among cable news outlets.

"To be banned, or boycotted, for the 12 debates over the next year, is kind of stunning," Wallace told the New York Times. "There are a lot of voters that a Democrat is going to need to get elected president who watch Fox News. People in the Rust Belt states, the rural areas that Hillary Clinton lost. They would have been able to see the Democratic candidates make their arguments about why they're better able to represent their interests."