This question: Was Bernie Sanders' recent town hall on fox news in any way unusual? asks about the surprisingly positive reception that Sanders' Medicare for All proposal received from the studio audience. While that question focuses more generally on whether the event was unusual, I want to focus specifically on the audience:

Many people were surprised that a liberal policy received a positive reaction from a Fox News audience; Sanders' supporters, in particular, have used this as evidence for wide appeal of his policies across the political spectrum.

But is there anything known about how the studio audience for Fox News town halls (and this one in particular) are chosen? Were they chosen at random from people who line up ahead of time (as with normal studio audiences)? Or were there efforts to ensure a particular political or demographic mix?

1 Answer 1


According to the Chicago Tribune:

Fox has said it reached out to various political and local groups in the Bethlehem area to help fill the audience for the Sanders town hall in their web articles.

You might ask why I am quoting from a newspaper and not Fox News. The reason is that Fox does not seem to be talking about how they filled the town hall.

President Donald Trump tweeted:

Many Trump Fans & Signs were outside of the @FoxNews Studio last night in the now thriving (Thank you President Trump) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the interview with Crazy Bernie Sanders. Big complaints about not being let in-stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?

This suggests that the political and local groups invited did not include the Trump campaign nor Republicans in general. As such, it is not surprising that people who attended in person were mostly Democrats and supportive of Bernie Sanders. They may even already have been Sanders supporters.

There is no reason to think that they were Fox News watchers, so it should not be surprising that their views were not necessarily in line with that of Fox Opinion (the set of shows that espouse conservative views on the Fox News channel).

  • 6
    I don't think that the Trump tweet suggests anything. Trump is famously unreliable and ill informed. Maybe Republican groups were invited, but Trump didn't know about it? His guess that the hall was purposefully "stuffed" with Bernie supporters does not seem be be based on any facts (if it is, including those facts would significantly improve this answer).
    – tim
    Apr 26, 2019 at 6:34
  • @tim the Trump tweet doesn't suggest it outright states, though it is couched in Weasel words to allow "it's something I heard, I don't know if i's true" type defences. It's reliability in many ways is irrelevant, Trumps tweets are official statements washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/14/… and will be believed by many.
    – Jontia
    Apr 26, 2019 at 8:26
  • 8
    @Jontia Right, Trump states it, and Brythan (incorrectly) assumes that this suggests anything about what actually happened. That many may believe Trump doesn't mean that what he says is true, and this question is about what actually happened, not what Trump or his supporters like to believe happened.
    – tim
    Apr 26, 2019 at 8:42

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