'A hate-for-profit racket': Warren refuses Fox town hall invite

Elizabeth Warren turned down a Fox News invitation Tuesday for a televised town hall and denounced the cable network as a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

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The network has been inviting Democratic presidential candidates to participate in town halls moderated by its news reporters. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar already done the events, while Pete Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand are scheduled to. All of them have criticized the network’s coverage of the Trump administration but defended going on the network as a means to reach voters.

Without mentioning her rivals, Warren argued that agreeing to go on the network would ultimately lend Fox News credibility and boost its revenue.

“A Fox News town hall adds money to the hate-for-profit machine. To which I say: hard pass,” she wrote in a Twitter thread. “Fox News is welcome to come to my events just like any other outlet.”

A Fox News representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anticipating criticism that she’s ducking hard questions, Warren noted that since January she’s done town halls in 17 states, had 57 media "availabilities" with reporters and done 131 interviews. After her town halls and events, Warren often takes questions from reporters for a few minutes. Her team said that they tabulated that she has taken over 1,100 questions the media since January.

Warren also participated in two CNN town halls earlier this year.

“I won’t ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates — especially when Fox will make even more money adding our valuable audience to their ratings numbers,” she wrote. "Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet. It’s all about dragging in ad money — big ad money."

Fox News has long been despised by much of the left, which considers it a propagandistic partisan machine. That sentiment has only intensified since President Donald Trump won: He frequently promotes the network, has hired officials from it, and uses some of its hosts, especially Sean Hannity, as informal advisers.

The move is the latest instance of Warren staking out a position to the left of her rivals and pushing them to defend either a more moderate position or to follow her. In recent months, she has gone to the left of all or most of her rivals on impeaching Trump, forgiving student debt, breaking up big tech companies like Facebook and Amazon, and abolishing the Senate filibuster.

Other Democrats, including Sanders, have defended appearing on Fox.

“To me, it is important to distinguish ‘Fox News’ from the many millions of people who watch Fox News,” Sanders said recently. “I think it is important to talk to Trump supporters and explain to them to what degree he has betrayed the working class of this country and lied during his campaign.”

Warren has something of an ally in Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez. He refused to partner with the network for DNC-sanctioned primary debates, saying he did not believe Fox should be entrusted “to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”