"The View" blasts Elizabeth Warren: If you can't face the Fox News audience, you can't face America

Meh. As much as we all enjoy a Warren pile-on, none of this is persuasive.

How many people who were considering voting for Warren, whether in the primary or general, will now look elsewhere because she won’t go on Fox? Five? Clearly she stands to gain more votes among lefties who relish seeing Fox demagogued than she stands to lose among the tiny minority of righties who were curious about her agenda and not already sour on her over the “Fauxcahontas” episode. She’s not skipping Fox because it’s an “uncomfortable space” either, as McCain suggests at one point. She’s appeared on Chris Wallace’s show before. She’s boycotting it because it’s a “hate machine” or whatever whose opinion arm is in Trump’s pocket.

Sunny Hostin comes closest to making a good point when she complains that it’s “very dismissive of so many Americans” for Warren to rule out a town hall on Fox. I saw that claim made yesterday on social media too, that Warren’s Fox boycott is tantamount to treating the FNC audience as “deplorables” because they’re devotees of the “hate machine.” That’s a fair cop by someone on a bipartisan show like “The View” but a hard critique for someone on the right to make given Trump’s de facto boycott of MSNBC and CNN, one reporter from which was actually barred temporarily from the White House briefing room last year. And Warren has a ready reply to Hostin: She’s not insisting that Fox not cover her campaign at all. She invited them to air her campaign events, which is her way of saying that she’s not writing off Fox’s audience. For all we know, she might be willing to do a center-right show like S.E. Cupp’s if asked.

What she objects to is doing events exclusively for Fox, as Bernie Sanders did with his town hall. If she finds Fox’s politics and its shilling for Trump morally objectionable, why wouldn’t she draw that line? Should we want Trump to feel obliged to appear on some DSA podcast?

What irks me about this, I think, is the pretense that either party’s base is persuadable and that media outlets that cater to those bases are interested in persuasion. Maybe persuasion is possible on a show like “The View” that aims for a more centrist audience, some members of which don’t necessarily follow politics closely. But that ain’t Fox’s audience. The Bernie town hall was interesting less as a substantive political exercise than for the freak-show appeal of a socialist using Trump’s TV megaphone for an hour to campaign against him. (Remember that the audience on the set wasn’t a traditional Fox audience either, it was a bunch of Berniebros. Essentially it was a Sanders campaign event with the minor novelty of two Fox hosts asking prosaic questions of him.) What does the country gain from rerunning the same stunt with Elizabeth Warren this time?

If any of these people, left or right, were planning to govern from the center as president I’d see some symbolic value to appearing on the other side’s “noise machine” outlets. But they aren’t, so I don’t. In lieu of an exit question, here’s Kirsten Gillibrand defending her own forthcoming appearance on Fox in which she insists that a politician has to go where the voters are. Except … none of the voters who watch Fox regularly are available to her. She’s doing a town hall on FNC for media buzz and maybe a small boost in donations from her loyal fans that’ll follow it, which might finally qualify her for the Democratic debates. That’s all.