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Fox News, Trump and the DNC

In a move to punish Fox News for its “inappropriate” relationship with President Donald Trump - a relationship only a fool or an atavistic idiot would deny - Tom Perez and the Democratic National Committee have denied Fox the ability to partner with the Democrats and host a primary debate in the run up to the 2020 general election.

Referring to a recent story by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, Perez said, “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.”

The President, quick to jump out in front of any controversy as long as he can get some attention and pander to his base tweeted, “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. 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!”

Fox’s response as reported in Axios makes a more salient point:

"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," said Bill Sammon, Fox News senior vice president and managing editor. "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.”

There are plenty of angry voters who love the Perez move, and seen through the tainted lens of politics it makes some sense. Trump enjoys a great deal of closeness with the Fox Network which makes sane adults wretch, children turn off the television and dogs howl incessantly.

Perez is also right about Fox. It is mostly propaganda, tainted by its “Human Centipede” proximity to the president and its promotion of “What aboutisms” and scurrilous stories of such a questionable nature that if they were told at home to a parent the child in question would be grounded for months.


So much for “I disagree with what you say, but defend to death your right to say it.”


Still, Perez’s actions remain hypocritical and divisive. The party that wants to be inclusive wants to exclude the participation of those who think other than the party does. This plays to Trump’s base and helps deepen their resolve to support the president.

So much for “I disagree with what you say, but defend to death your right to say it.”

The fact is a debate on Fox may give the DNC advance notice of what the GOP and Trump have planned for them - if they believe Trump would be pulling the strings of a debate.

Personally, I can’t think of anything more entertaining or enlightening than Fox News hosting the Democratic candidates. If you can’t handle a bunch of peddlers of propaganda, if that’s what you think Fox is, then how can you - as a president - ever hope to handle real conflict? It’s the same question we’ve repeatedly asked Trump as he shuts down anyone he believes is “Fake News” and tells us to sit down.

A Fox debate would also guarantee Democrats would be seen by a contingent of voters who don’t normally vote for them. The party and many supporters say, “so why bother?” I think it could actually work to the benefit of the Democrats by giving them a forum in which those normally opposed might be swayed by Democrats. I can think of no logical reason to resist the ability to speak to the unconverted. I always find those the most enjoyable venues. Perhaps if even a small number of the Trump faithful saw the Democrats as human beings instead of insidious monsters intent on supporting open borders and killing newborns and cows it would be a good thing for the country.

The decision by Perez and the Democrats reinforces the chasm this country must overcome and accusing the president and his party of being the instigators of division while high-handedly refusing to try and cure any of the appearances of division the GOP and Trump have created is simply ridiculous.

To me, its the Democrat version of “Sit down,” that Trump has told numerous reporters, including myself at a variety of events.

Democracy, never easy, is made harder by pushing people - no matter how silly they appear - from the stage and into darkness. Democracy, as someone wiser than me has said, dies in the darkness.

You can take issue with Fox and the stunts they pull. You can be angry with Sean Hannity. You can disparage the entire network as a Trump tool and you will have missed the point.

Trump’s reaction to the DNC has already shown you what is to come. The danger is politicians will step up their efforts to pick and choose those who favor them and their cause to host their debates, answer their questions and write their stories. By excluding Fox, the DNC insures the survival of Fox and the partisan politics Fox supports. Where else will the faithful turn? Tom Perez is simply cutting his nose to spite his face.


Do they think Sean Hannity will stride into the debate and pull down his pants?


It isn’t up to politicians to decide who asks the questions, how they are asked or how often. It is for the people to decide. Taking the ability away from one group justifies someone else taking that ability away from you.

In the case of Fox hosting a Democratic candidate debate it doesn’t even make much sense. How, ultimately, does Tom Perez think a Fox debate would differ from any other debate? The party and the network decide the participants, rules and procedures prior to the debate. Is it merely the questions the Democrats fear? Do they think Sean Hannity will stride into the debate and pull down his pants? Worse, you sound like a petulant child by banning Fox instead of a stern parent. Just take your football and go home.

Ultimately it is just all for appearance. It’s a politician trying to punish someone with whom they don’t agree. There are those who are so convinced of the righteousness of their cause they do not want to hear opposing opinions, see opposing views or hear anything from outside their philosophical cul-de-sac. Some of us enjoy differing opinions. Some of us relish in questioning even our own accepted bias for the mere potential of learning something new.

It is the argument central to the criticism of Trump supporters - they believe what they want without ever bothering to try to reach out and check their facts. Here’s a chance to take it to them and they’ll never have to switch the channel off of Fox. The Democrats are showing they just don’t get it, are participating in behavior contrary to their success and thus running the risk of doing what Trump believes will be done in 2020 - the Democrats will snatch defeat, once again, out of the jaws of victory and give Trump a second term.

Banning Fox from hosting a 2020 Democratic candidate debate helps fuel the fire - it doesn’t put it out.

- Brian J. Karem


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