Howard Kurtz to DNC: Don’t Punish Fox News Reporters for Our Opinion Side
Consummate newsman Bret Baier also defended his network, noting how Fox has always been ‘tough but fair in debates.’ Operative words: ‘in debates.’
A day after the Democratic National Committee decided to bar Fox News from hosting any of the party’s 2020 presidential primary debates, Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz called on the DNC to reconsider and not hold Fox’s pro-Trump opinion side against the network’s “hard news” division.
On Wednesday, DNC chairman Tom Perez announced that Democrats would exclude Fox News from their debate schedule, citing the New Yorker deep-dive into Fox News that demonstrated how the network has evolved into a pro-Trump propaganda machine.
In response to Perez’s decision, Fox News released the following statement:
“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.”
Appearing on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom Thursday morning, Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz said he wasn’t surprised by the move since Fox didn’t participate in the 2016 Democratic primary debates, but suggested Perez was using the New Yorker story as cover.
Unsurprisingly, Kurtz found the highly critical piece on his network “deeply flawed.”
“Here’s the thing,” he stated. “In that 11,000-plus words in the New Yorker piece, what wasn’t mentioned is that Fox has a very professional and very solid news division.”
The piece actually did discuss the network’s news division, however, by noting how it was one of those hard-news reporters’ scoop on the Stormy Daniels hush payment got spiked due to Fox owner Rupert Murdoch wanting Trump to win the 2016 election.
Fox anchor Bill Hemmer noted that there is still time for the DNC to change its mind, prompting Kurtz to promote the network’s news side, insisting it is not at all infected by the doggedly pro-Trump positions of opinion-centric hosts like Sean Hannity and the Fox & Friends crew.
“You know, the primetime opinion people, Fox & Friends, they get a lot of the attention,” Kurtz asserted. “I understand that. There are an awful lot of people at this company. Bret [Baier] and Martha, remember Martha Mccallum’s grilling of Brett Kavanaugh when he gave the only interview as a Supreme Court nominee?”
After name-checking a number of purported “hard-news” journalists at the network and claiming that Fox News has fairly covered recent news stories, Kurtz concluded by insisting: “Opinion people are something else.”
Appearing later on America’s Newsroom, Baier was asked his opinion on the DNC’s decision. The Special Report anchor called it “disappointing” before using a very notable qualifier to tout the network’s fairness.
“We have a long track record of being tough but fair in debates,” he said. “Chris Wallace obviously was lauded for his general election debate last cycle. Three years ago today, I did a town hall—moderated a town hall with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. Both campaigns said they thought it was very fair. Tough but fair.”