A recent report in The New Yorker about the blurred lines between Fox News and the Republican Party has prompted the Democrats to spurn it as a host for the party's 2020 primary election.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on March 7, 2019

“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including FOX News,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.

“Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and FOX News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

An article titled ‘The Making of the Fox News White House’ prompted the decision

The article, written by Jane Mayer, says that Roger Ailes, the late CEO and Chairman of Fox News, gave Trump some of the debate questions in advance during the 2016 election campaign. The network has denied this claim.

The New Yorker article also quotes Joe Peyronnin, a professor of journalism at N.Y.U and a former President of Fox News. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he says of the current state of his former network. “It’s as if the President had his own press organization. It’s not healthy.”

Mayer’s piece also circles back to Sean Hannity’s hugely contentious decision to appear alongside Trump at a rally. To many critics, this was the moment when any last vestige of Fox News being a partisan commentator rather than a cheerleader for the Trump administration disappeared. Many of Hannity’s colleagues were unhappy with his role at the rally and Fox News said it did not approve of its commentators appearing at such events.

CBS has also raised concerns over Trump’s willingness to talk to Hannity over other, less sympathetic reporters. CBS reporter Mark Knoller said that as of 21 February, Trump had done 45 interviews with Fox News since becoming President. Seven of those interviews were with Hannity, more than the number of interviews (five) he has done with NBC and CBS combined.

Fox News urged the Democrats to rethink their decision

Alex S. Jones, a former Director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, told Politico that “Hannity is not a journalist. He is a propagandist.”

CNN, a news source often dismissed as “fake news” by Trump, has also raised questions about the network’s cosiness with the President and Republican party establishment.

Fox News had been considered an outsider to host the Democrats 2020 primary election debates but had pushed hard for the role. After the announcement, Bill Sammon, the Managing Editor of Fox News’ Washington bureau, issued a statement urging the party to reconsider its decision. “Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum…embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism,” the statement continued. “They offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters.”