Democrat Warren rejects town hall on 'hate-for-profit' Fox News

By Letitia Stein
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a townhall event in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Maddie McGarvey/Files

By Letitia Stein

(Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday said she was refusing an invitation to participate in a town hall organized by Fox News, calling the American cable news network popular with conservatives "a hate-for-profit racket."

Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, said in a series of Twitter posts that such an event would help Fox News burnish its reputation as a legitimate news organization and expand its audience for advertising purposes.

"Fox News has invited me to do a town hall, but I'm turning them down," she posted. "Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists."

She described her decision as a way to fight back against the network's right-leaning agenda.

Representatives for Fox News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Warren's position contrasts with other Democratic presidential contenders, including some leading her in early opinion polls. Fox News has already broadcast town halls with Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Similar events are scheduled with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

With more than 20 Democrats vying for the party's nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump, the candidates going on the cable news channel seek in part to showcase their appeal across party lines.

However, none of the 12 official nominating contest debates hosted by the Democratic National Committee will be broadcast on Fox News because Chairman Tom Perez said it has an "inappropriate relationship" with the Trump administration.

Warren's position could help win her points among Democratic voters in the primary contest. But she risks alienating Fox News' large audience in a general election - especially the white, working-class voters who shifted to Trump after previously voting for Democratic President Barack Obama.

Warren noted she has held town halls in more than a half dozen states Trump won by significant margins in 2016. Last week, she took her case directly to voters by campaigning in two of them: Ohio and West Virginia.

She invited Fox News to cover her events, but drew a line.

"A Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine," she wrote on Twitter. "To which I say: hard pass."


(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)