Fox News anchor Bret Baier blamed “Fox Derangement Syndrome” for Democrats’ decision not to let the network host a primary debate.
In an appearance Sunday on Fox’s Media Buzz, Baier claimed that the Democrats’ left wing had forced the party to cancel the debate.
“There is a bit of Fox derangement syndrome with a section of the left,” Baier said.
The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that Fox wouldn’t be selected as a primary debate host for the 2020 presidential race, after The New Yorker reported that Donald Trump received advance warning about Fox debate questions in the 2016 Republican primary.
Baier claimed that some Democrats want a Fox primary debate because they respect Fox and its “power of the fairness,” but that those Democrats have been cowed by other Democrats further to their left.
“Often they are drowned out by the loud voices on the left side of the party,” Baier said.
Baier couldn’t say definitively that 2016 debate questions hadn’t been leaked to the Trump campaign.
“I don’t believe that to be true,” Baier said. “Just looking back, we had a tight circle on those questions.”
Still, Baier said Fox likely wouldn’t have been allowed to host the debate even if the New Yorker story had never happened, calling it a “fig leaf” for Democrats unwilling to let the network host a debate.
In his appearance, Baier and host Howard Kurtz tried to stress a separation between Fox opinion hosts like Sean Hannity and the network’s day-time news side.
“I like to think that we have horse-blinders up, and we are letting the news bubble up,” Baier said.
Fox’s allies play up the division between its news and opinion shows, but the network’s critics have criticized it as an excuse for journalists to work at Fox while ignoring comments made by the network’s night-time hosts. On Saturday, CNN chief Jeff Zucker slammed Fox reporters who cite the ostensible divide between Fox’s branches.
“They chose to work at Fox and they don’t get to hide behind the fact that they’re excellent journalists or anchors,” Zucker said. “The fact is they work at a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”