DNC bars Fox News from hosting presidential primary debates; network urges party to reconsider

The Democratic National Committee has barred Fox News from hosting its presidential primary debates, prompting the network to urge the party to reconsider.

“We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate. They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Sammon said in a statement.


“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace moderated a presidential debate in 2016.

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace moderated a presidential debate in 2016. (Fox News)

Earlier in the day, DNC Chairman Tom Perez announced the party would not allow Fox News to host primary debates, claiming they would not be “fair and neutral” forums for the candidates.

“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters,” Perez said in a statement to The Washington Post that cited a critical article in The New Yorker. “That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. 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.”

While some Fox News Channel opinion hosts have come under fire for ties to the Trump administration, Wallace, Baier and MacCallum are anchors from the news division who have been praised for their handling of past debates. In 2016, Wallace moderated a presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.


Reacting to the DNC’s decision, Baier tweeted Wednesday, “That’s really a shame. When it comes to fairness - our news product speaks for itself. We will continue to cover this 2020 race fairly & will continue to invite Democrats- Republicans & Independents on to talk about key issues & substance with our very large viewing audience.”

The DNC announced last month that NBC News will host the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 election cycle in June. Back in 2016, the Republican National Committee famously pulled out of a planned NBC News Republican primary debate after a similar event on CNBC was criticized for allegedly unfair questions.