Democrat Candidates’ Town Halls Boost Fox News’ Image w/ Viewers

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(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Whether Fox News‘s recent town halls actively sought to shed the network’s image among Democrats as a pro-Trump mouthpiece or simply reflected a commitment to the sort of evenhanded journalism its news wing has always pursued, it seems to be working.

survey of 600 viewers released on Tuesday by Morning Consult revealed a 6-point net positive gain in perception of the network as a direct result of its 2020 primary coverage featuring town halls with Democratic candidates.

That included 19 percent who viewed the network more positively versus 13 percent who viewed it more negatively.

Scott McDonald, CEO and president of the Advertising Research Foundation, said the viewers gave the network credit for “for letting in some other voices.”

However, he added, “I wouldn’t call it a trend until you actually can watch it over a period of time and see whether it builds.”

The town halls conducted by CNN and MSNBC both produced smaller net gains in perception that fell within the survey’s margins of error.

The findings came on the same day that NBC revealed the slate of moderators for its late-June debates.

The two-night event, broadcast from Miami on June 26 and 27 will feature Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz–Balart.

The Democratic National Committee previously announced its plans to blacklist Fox News from the debates, claiming right-wing bias.

Several of those selected for the NBC debates, however, have come under fire for their own far-left biases.

In particular, Maddow is known as an extreme-left pundit whose Fox counterpart is conservative host Sean Hannity.

Todd, although he bears the title as NBC News political director, has drawn considerable criticism for suppressing reasonable debate on topics like climate-change in his capacity as host of “Meet the Press.”

Only Cuban–American Telemundo anchor José Diaz–Balart, whose brother is a Republican congressman in south Florida, seems likely to press the field of candidates on any topics outside of the fringe-left agenda.

By contrast, the Fox News town halls have largely proved positive for a few centrist-posturing candidates who wish to reach across the aisle to disaffected conservative voters, with some reaching an untapped audience more than the two rival networks combined.

Among those who have participated are Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY; former Housing Secretary Julian Castro; and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who previously had harsh rhetoric about Fox, was said to have been begging its parent company, News Corp, to grant him a town hall as he struggled to gain traction in the polls and to meet cutoff thresholds for the primary debates.

However, other candidates, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have thus far refused to participate, with Warren notably attacking Fox and alleging that it espouses hate and racism.

Warren also claimed the town halls were a cynical ploy to cultivate new sponsors and increase revenue. “I’m just not going to help Fox News executives raise money off my name,” she said on “The View.”

In May, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said the network was on track to post its highest revenues ever this fiscal year.

Even so, McDonald doubted that the town halls would translate into a broad new source of income for the network, which periodically draws left-wing activists to threaten boycotts of its sponsors.

“I wouldn’t expect there to be a bunch of advertisers popping up that haven’t already been doing business with Fox,” he said.