MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Monday called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "brilliant" for deciding to be featured in a Fox News town hall, adding that the move shows the 2020 presidential candidate is "going after Trump voters."
“I don’t care what the national Democratic Party says. I think it’s a brilliant move going over to Fox News,” Scarborough said on "Morning Joe."
“Bernie is doing something other Democrats are not doing," Scarborough added. "He’s going after Trump voters.”
The praise came hours before Sanders is set to appear in a Fox News town hall to be broadcast live from Bethlehem, Pa. The event will be moderated by "Special Report" anchor Bret Baier and "The Story" anchor Martha MacCallum.
Regular "Morning Joe" panelist Mike Barnicle on Monday agreed with Scarborough, and urged more Democratic candidates to follow Sanders's lead.
“The idea of Bernie Sanders going on Fox TV is a great idea for Sanders, the campaign and the Democratic Party. And more Democrats ought to appear on Fox News because you’re talking to the kinds of people — many of them, not all of them, many of them are Democratic voters who have been screwed out of their paychecks, their pensions and everything by the activities of multiple, multiple administrations, but specifically now this administration in Washington, D.C.," Barnicle said.
Democrats react harshly:
Among Democrats, the booking has drawn criticism. Some progressive groups are urging presidential contenders to boycott the network whose stream of pro-Trump commentary has led critics to liken it to unofficial “state TV”.
“Fox News has turned into something, particularly in the last year, that is distinguishable and different from just being a conservative outlet,” said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog. “It’s functionally the same as political propaganda and going on does more harm than good.”
“Now is the moment of accountability,” Carusone said. “Democrats really need to ask themselves if at this moment they really want to be throwing Fox News a lifeline.”
Marianne Gambelli, Fox’s president of ad sales, said the network recently “had a very successful upfront presentation where our advertisers walked away feeling extremely positive about our story and the value of our audience”. She said the network anticipated “no change” to its ad sales this year.