Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez doubled down on his decision to bar Fox News from hosting or televising any of the upcoming Democratic presidential primary debates during a Monday morning appearance on that network.
“I don’t have faith in your leadership at Fox News at the senior levels,” Perez told host Bill Hemmer. “I have great respect for Bret [Baier] and for Chris [Wallace] and for you, but you’ve demonstrated that, above your pay grade, they don’t trust your own listeners and so they feel like they have to put the thumb on the scale.”
Perez argued that Fox News senior managers “have pierced that line between editorial and your Sean Hannity shows.”
Hemmer pushed back on the criticism, arguing that the network’s news and opinion divisions have historically been different.
“You know there is a line between what we do at 9 o’clock [in the morning] and what happens in the prime time,” Hemmer said. “It’s like reading a newspaper, Tom, and it’s been the same way for a long time.”
Closing the interview, Hemmer told Perez that he hopes the DNC reconsiders its move, adding, “We’ll give you a fair shake.”
The DNC announced its plan to block Fox News in March, following an exposé by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who detailed the network’s close ties to the White House, including its effort to kill a story about porn star Stormy Daniels’ alleged affair with Donald Trump.
Mayer also reported that President Trump had attempted to thwart the AT&T-Time Warner merger, apparently out of spite against CNN, which is owned by the latter company.
In a statement following that article’s publication, Perez cited it as an indication that Fox News is “not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”
Fox News senior vice president Bill Sammon has since asked the DNC to rethink the decision, but there are no signs so far that it will.