Back in March the DNC refused to hold any primary debates on Fox News.

With the second Democratic Presidential Debate coming up in a few weeks on CNN, this question seems especially relevant.

Fox News is the most watched cable news channel in the US. Holding a debate on Fox would undoubtedly bring a larger audience to see what the candidates have to offer.

Although I would agree that certain Fox personalities (Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity) would not be appropriate moderators for a Democratic Debate, Fox also has many hosts who, in my opinion, are completely professional and unbiased (Chris Wallace, Bret Baier).

Why did the DNC refuse to hold any debates on such an important and influential network? Could they not have negotiated which Fox hosts they wanted to moderate the debates?

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    In the link you provide, the DNC gave several reasons. What non-opinion-based reasons could an answer provide besides those? Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 17:42
  • Comments deleted. Please don't try to answer the question using comments. If you would like to answer, please post a real answer which adheres to our quality standards.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 8:24
  • 3
    Why do you think that personalities who are perceived to be hostile to the DNC agenda cannot be moderators? Shouldn't a selection of the national leader involve some process which would reveal how they perform under pressure and deal with adversarial questioning?
    – grovkin
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 16:42
  • 1
    The answer is pretty clear: Fox is largely critical of democrats, and the democrats have successfully built allyship with other media outlets (CNN, NBC) while convincing consumers of those media outlets that Fox is illegitimate. Why would they intentionally add legitimacy to them by allowing friendly procedures to broadcast on Fox?
    – user2578
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


This is a tough question to answer without introducing opinion, but I will do my best.

At a high level, the DNC cited The Making of the Fox News White House as their reason for excluding their candidate debates during the 2019-2020 cycle.

The article makes the case that Fox News was a biased media organization in support of the Trump White House. It goes on to claim that Fox executives

"may have informed the Trump campaign about a [debate] question involving Trump’s treatment of women that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly intended to ask at the first Republican debate in 2015"

Opinion aside, if this assertion was true, it would make little sense to for the DNC to subject their candidates to a debate on a news network accused of directly helping their opponent in past debates.

Tactically, it would be a major risk to assume that a "fair and neutral debate" would be hosted with the information that was readily available to the DNC at the time.

Allowing Fox News to hold a DNC primary debate could be disastrous, given moderators create the questions asked, and are in control of the conversation and its progression.


From your link:

But, he wrote, "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."

In the minds of many progressives, this is a no-brainer move. Fox's prime time talk shows relentlessly demonize Democrats and the progressive agenda.

Of course, the countering point is that they will have to face Fox News in the general election. It might be best to see who performs best in the face of conservative criticism. Or even just the kind of sharp questioning that liberals like Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith might bring. Although, it might make more sense for them to engage in one-on-one interviews instead, as that would offer the interviewers more of a chance to shape the interview than the political debate format.

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    Chris Wallace isn't liberal. He's said that he's registered as a Democrat because it's the only way of getting anything done in Washington D.C. at the local level, and he's voted for members of both parties in the past.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 22:02

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