Democrat Pete Buttigieg did something Sunday evening that other Democrats have shied away from – he participated in a town hall on Fox News Channel. Mayor Pete took the opportunity to call out “some” Fox News Channel hosts for “amplifying hate.”
In preparation for his appearance, Buttigieg sent an explanation about his decision to participate in a town hall on the Trump-friendly, conservative-leaning cable news network via email Saturday. In the bubble of liberal-based news coverage on all the other cable news channels, taking a detour into a less friendly atmosphere needs to be explained, you see. You’ll notice he says that Fox News voices “uncritically amplify hate”. It’s all about “good faith”.
Mayor Pete out with a lengthy explanation for why he’s doing a Fox News town hall pic.twitter.com/VtX57kYNcb
— Sam Stein (@samstein) May 18, 2019
So, you’d think that town hall moderator Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, would have been prepared to speak up for his network colleagues when the inevitable smack talk from Mayor Pete spewed forth. But, no. Chris Wallace simply sat there without even a change of expression on his face. Buttigieg used the “good faith” reference again.
“A lot of people in my party were critical of me doing this,” he said, in reference to fellow candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comments last week. “I get where that’s coming from, especially when you see what goes on with some of the opinion hosts on this network. I get where that’s coming from especially when you see what goes on with some opinion hosts on this network. I mean when you’ve got Tucker Carlson saying that immigrants make America dirty. When you’ve got Laura Ingraham comparing detention centers with children in cages to summer camps.
“There is a reason why anybody has to swallow hard and think twice before participating in this media ecosystem. But I also believe even though some of those hosts aren’t always there in good faith, I think a lot of people who tune into this network do it in good faith.”
Buttigieg took aim at two of the most watched show hosts in cable news. Tucker Carlson, in particular, consistently beats his competition on other cable networks sharing the same time slot. I noticed he didn’t mention Sean Hannity, who hosts the top-ranked primetime opinion show and is known to be friendly with Trump off-air.
Sometimes guests will throw some shade at Fox News Network during an interview in normal programming. I’ve seen Democrats appear on Martha MacCallum’s evening show, for example, who slip in an insulting remark to the network or its viewers. She speaks up and holds them to account. Chris Wallace, however, didn’t do that. How insulting to both his Fox colleagues and to Fox viewers. Buttigieg tried to have it both ways. The obvious implication, though, is that hateful conservatives watch hateful Fox show hosts.
“The tweets are — I don’t care,” Buttigieg to raucous applause at one point, referring to Trump’s Twitter posts, including some that mocked Buttigieg.
“It’s a great way to command attention,” Wallace said.
“It’s a great way to command attention from the media,” Buttigieg countered.
Mayor Pete doesn’t want to speak ill of his Democrat opponents in the primary but clearly said that it’s time for the next generation of leaders to take the reins. While he likes to claim he’s different from the rest of the 193 candidates running for the Democrat nomination, he isn’t. As a matter of fact, the only difference is his sexual preference. He’s a tax-happy liberal and mentioned four proposed tax hikes and criticized Trump’s tax cuts that have, in fact, allowed the economy to soar.
On fiscal policy, Buttigieg pushed for four distinct tax hikes when asked about the deficit, saying he favored a “fairer, which means higher” marginal income tax, a “reasonable” wealth tax “or something like that,” a financial transactions tax, and closing “corporate tax loopholes.”
“You don’t blow a hole in the budget with an unnecessary and unaffordable tax cut for the very wealthiest,” Buttigieg told Wallace, referring to President Trump’s tax legislation.
He sounds ordinary to me. He is articulate, I’ll give him that. And he comes off as a happy warrior even as he is saying ugly things about conservatives. No doubt that is part of his appeal to Democrat primary voters. But, his political opinions are like those of all the other candidates. He continued to call for the elimination of the Electoral College though he was speaking in a tiny state, New Hampshire, that benefits from it. The audience, mostly liberal, rewarded him with continued applause throughout the town hall.
The next scheduled town hall on Fox is with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on June 2.