Juan Williams slams DNC for excluding Fox News from 2020 primary debates

March 11, 2019

With Democrats pledging to block Fox News from participating in their 2020 primary debates, the conservative media giant has found some surprising allies on the other side of the ideological aisle.

Even Democrat Juan Williams, a Fox News anchor with liberal views, thinks the Democrats have gone off the deep end with this one. Challenging the Democrat notion that Fox News is “state media,” Williams said Sunday that he and other journalists at Fox are not forced to spread pro-Trump propaganda.

“I’m a Democrat and I’ve worked at Fox for 23 years,” Williams said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “Nobody tells me what to say here.”

Democrat anchor dings Dems on Fox drama

Williams noted that Democrats “don’t like strident pro-Trump voices in the primetime hour,” referring to the likes of Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, but lamented what he described as a missed opportunity for dialogue. While Fox’s opinion pundits are largely pro-Trump — and some of them are even friends with the president — the network is home to hard news journalists like Chris Wallace and Brett Baier, who have not shied away from criticizing the president.

“I think it’s very important that Democrats penetrate the bubble, if you will, on the right and speak truth as well as it can be spoken,” Williams said. Williams is a liberal Trump critic and recently blasted the Republican Party’s “cynical Israel ploy” in the ongoing anti-Semitism controversy embroiling the Democrats.

Citing a New Yorker report that detailed a close relationship between the network and President Trump, Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez announced last week that the Democratic Party would bar Fox News from moderating primary debates. The Democrats have opted to stay in friendly territory, awarding CNN and NBC the opportunity to moderate their first two debates.

“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,” DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

Dems hit for seeking media “safe space”

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell also said that his party had made a “mistake,” while others at Fox have criticized the Democrats, with Wallace pointing to so-called “Fox Derangement Syndrome” — a tendency on the left to obsessively portray Fox — as being in the pockets of the GOP.

“You know how we talk about ‘Trump derangement syndrome,’ or [a similar obsession with former President] Obama? I think that, in the left wing of the Democratic Party, there is ‘Fox derangement syndrome,’” Wallace said on Fox News Radio. He added: “And even though they know that Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier and I would give a fair debate, the idea of anything with Fox News presents the Democratic debate and they were just looking for an excuse and the New Yorker article gave it to them.”

Wallace was lauded by even left-wing outlets for his delicate handling of a presidential debate in 2016, but that subtlety is clearly no longer in vogue with the Left. Fox News anchor Baier also chimed in, calling the DNC’s decision a “shame,” while the network defended its journalists as being among the “best in the business.”

“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,” said Bill Sammon, senior vice president and managing editor of Fox News’ Washington bureau.

When even liberal Democrats think the Democrats are wrong, maybe it’s time for the left to engage in some reflection.


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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.