Via the Free Beacon, something to get you warmed up for the Bernie Sanders Tax Day town hall on Fox News tonight at 6:30 ET, something I still can’t quite believe is real and not a thing I imagined on Saturday night after eight drinks.
Is Perez’s answer here a smart one or not? Criticizing Fox primetime for “not trusting its own listeners” is a clever way to accuse the network of bias in that it turns the ostentatious populism of Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham upside down. It’s not their contempt for Democrats that bothers us, Perez suggests. It’s the contempt they show for Fox’s own viewers by refusing to give us the same fair shake that the news side of the network does. What do they fear viewers might conclude about Democrats if they weren’t being fed three hours of “liberals are evil” every night?
To which Hemmer might have replied: How much did Rachel Maddow and CNN trust their own viewers when they spent two years turning daily Russiagate dribs and drabs into a narrative that would surely end with the president accused of conspiring with an enemy power to win the 2016 election?
I kind of think it’s a bad answer, though, in that Perez has no comeback when Hemmer counters with the standard defense of Fox, that news is news and opinion is opinion and it’s unfair to judge the latter by the standards of the former. The problem with Fox primetime, Perez might have said, isn’t that it’s opinion, it’s that it often seems to be working hand-in-glove with the man whom Democrats will be running against next year. So long as Hannity is the 9 p.m. guy and the president’s “shadow chief of staff,” it’s hard for the DNC not to treat the network as an arm of the Trump campaign. In which case, Fox asking to host debates isn’t so much a right-wing network asking to cover a left-wing event but more like the RNC asking to host a Democratic primary debate. How much would righties have trusted the DNC to host a GOP primary debate in 2016?
Eh. Neither the good answer nor the bad answer are the truth. The truth is that progressives fear and loathe the DNC after they put a thumb on the scale for Hillary in 2016 and Perez needs to somehow atone. You don’t do that by handing debate rights to a network which the left hates with the fire of a hundred suns. You do it by enforcing a boycott, at least at the institutional level. Bernie has enough lefty cred to get away with blessing Fox with his presence. The DNC doesn’t. Simple as that.