Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a tax day town hall on Fox News even as the party tries to distance itself from the pro-Trump propaganda network.
Fox News announced that it will host a town hall with the Democratic Socialist on April 15 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The event will focus on the economy and jobs.
The announcement comes weeks after the Democratic National Committee said it would not partner with Fox News to host any of its primary debates after a New Yorker report revealed how the network worked to help Trump win in 2016 while suppressing damaging reports about him.
“The network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” DNC chief Tom Perez said in March.
While most candidates have shied away from appearing on the network, Sanders is the only one taking the opportunity to speak to voters that may not otherwise hear a Democratic perspective on issues. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the surging 2020 contender, said on “The View” that it’s important to reach people who don’t agree with you.
“There are so many viewers who may never hear what our party has to say at all if we’re never going on those channels and explaining what we believe,” Buttigieg said.
Sanders used 2016 Fox News appearance to push policy ideas:
Sanders appeared on Fox News during his 2016 primary campaign, where host Bret Baier asked why he believed health care was a human right.
“Being a human being,” Sanders said. “I believe that if she is poor and you are rich, she is entitled to the same quality health care that you have because she is a human being.”
“To everybody flipping out about Bernie going on Fox News, here's a clip… of Bernie getting *a room full of Trump voters* in West Virginia to cheer leftist policies,” wrote Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski.
Some Democrats split on Bernie’s decision:
Some on the left complained that Sanders was legitimizing the network even as he tries to appeal to voters that the Democratic party has ignored in recent years.
“I don’t know why he would lend his considerable presence to a network that routinely pushes sexist and racist tropes about progressives and his supporters,” said Daily Kos political strategist Carolyn Fiddler, according to The Associated Press.
“If you want to go on Fox, fine,” tweeted Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. “But wait until after the ad sales period is over. If you go on Fox between now and May, they will use your appearance to help neutralize all the advertiser blowback.”
But others applauded Sanders for using a platform Trump has heavily relied on to reach a wider demographic of voters.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, the founder of The Intercept, wrote that Sanders was “trying to maximize, rather than minimize, the number of Americans who hear him argue in favor of his beliefs, values and viewpoints. Only American media liberals think this is an odd thing for someone to want to do.”
Greenwald posted screencaps of Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appearing on Fox News in the past.
“Your reminder that leading Democratic politicians went on Bill O'Reilly's Fox show for years long after it was known that he was a harasser of women and as liberals routinely castigated O'Reilly as a racist demagogue. Why? Because they wanted to maximize who heard their views,” he wrote.